Liber de perfectione spiritualis vitae
THE PERFECTION OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
John Procter, O.P.
under the titleThe Religious State, the Episcopate and the Priestly Office
St. Louis: B. Herder, 1902, and London: Sands, 1903
reprint: The Newman Press, Westminster Maryland, 1950
The language somewhat revised by Joseph Kenny, O.P.
In Which Is Set Forth the Author’s Intention
CHAPTER I: That the Perfection of the Spiritual Life Is to Be Understood Absolutely (simpliciter) According to Charity
CHAPTER II: Perfection Is Understood to Mean Both the Love of God, and the Love of Our Neighbour
CHAPTER III: The Perfection of Divine Love Which Exists in God Alone
CHAPTER IV: The Perfection of Divine Love Which Exists in Those Who Have Attained to Beatitude
CHAPTER V: The Perfection of Divine Love Which is Necessary to Salvation
CHAPTER VI: The Perfection of Divine Love Which is A Matter of Counsel
CHAPTER VII: The First Means of Perfection, Viz.: the Renunciation of Earthly Possessions
CHAPTER VIII: The Second Means of Perfection Which is the Renunciation, of Earthly Ties and of Matrimony
CHAPTER IX: Aids to the Preservation of Chastity
CHAPTER X: Of the Third Means of Perfection, Namely, the Abnegation of Our Own Will
CHAPTER XI: The Three Means of Perfection, of Which We Have Hitherto Been Speaking, Belong, Peculiarly, to the Religious State
CHAPTER XII: Refutation of the Errors of Those Who Presume to Detract From the Merit of Obedience, Or of Vows
CHAPTER XIII: The Perfection of Brotherly Love Which is Necessary for Salvation
CHAPTER XIV: The Perfection of Love of Our Neighbour Considered As A Matter of Counsel
CHAPTER XV: What is Required to Constitute the State of Perfection
CHAPTER XVI: The State of Perfection is A Condition Befitting Bishops and Religious
CHAPTER XVII: The Episcopal Office is More Sacred Than is the Religious Life
CHAPTER XVIII: An Answer to Certain Arguments Which May Seem to Call in Question the Perfection of the Episcopal State
CHAPTER XIX: The Episcopal Office, Although A State of Greater Perfection Than is the Religious Life, Is, Nevertheless, Not to Be Coveted
CHAPTER XX: Arguments Used by Certain Men to Prove That Parish Priests and Archdeacons Are in A State of Higher Perfection Than Are Religious. Answers to These Arguments
CHAPTER XXI: Other Arguments Used to Overthrow the Conclusion At Which We Have Arrived
CHAPTER XXII: Showing That the Liability to Suspension Does Not Suffice to Prove That Parish Priests Or Archdeacons Are in A State of Perfection
CHAPTER XXIII: An Answer to the Foregoing Arguments, in Which An Attempt Was Made to Show That Archdeacons and Parish Priests Are in A Higher
CHAPTER XXIV: An Answer to the Argument, Whereby Certain Persons Endeavour to Prove That the Defect of A Solemn Blessing Or Consecration Does Not Hinder Archdeacons Or Parish Priests From Being in A State of Perfection
CHAPTER XXV: An Answer to the Arguments Which Are Brought Forward, to Prove: That the Power of An Archdeacon Or Parish Priest to Resign His Duties is No Hindrance to His Being in A State of Perfection
CHAPTER XXVI: Concerning the Works That A Religious May Lawfully Undertake
Quae sit auctoris intentio
In Which Is Set Forth the Author’s Intention
In Undertaking this Work
Quoniam quidam perfectionis ignari, de perfectionis statu vana quaedam dicere praesumpserunt, propositum nostrae intentionis est de perfectione tractare: quid sit esse perfectum, qualiter perfectio acquiratur, quis perfectionis status, et quae competant assumentibus perfectionis statum. As certain persons, who know nothing about perfection, have nevertheless presumed to publish follies concerning this state, it is our purpose to draw up a treatise on perfection, explaining what is meant by the term; how perfection is acquired; what is the state of perfection; and what are the employments befitting those who embrace this state.
Quod perfectio spiritualis vitae simpliciter attenditur secundum caritatem
That the Perfection of the Spiritual Life Is to Be Understood Absolutely (simpliciter) According to Charity
Primum igitur considerare oportet, quod perfectum multipliciter dicitur. Est enim aliquid simpliciter perfectum; aliquid vero dicitur perfectum secundum quid. Simpliciter quidem perfectum est quod attingit ad finem eius quod ei competit secundum propriam rationem; secundum quid autem perfectum dici potest quod attingit ad finem alicuius eorum quae concomitantur propriam rationem: sicut animal simpliciter dicitur esse perfectum, quando ad hunc finem perducitur ut nihil ei desit ex his quae integritatem animalis vitae constituunt: puta cum nihil ei deficit ex numero et dispositione membrorum, et debita corporis quantitate, et virtutibus quibus operationes animalis vitae perficiuntur; secundum quid autem perfectum animal potest dici si sit perfectum in aliquo concomitanti, puta si sit perfectum in albedine, aut in odore, aut in aliquo huiusmodi. AT the outset of our work we must bear in mind that the word “perfect” is used in several senses. A thing may be absolutely perfect (simpliciter), or it may be perfect relatively (secundum quid). That which is perfect absolutely attains the end to which, according to its own nature, it is adapted. That which is relatively perfect is that which attains to the perfection of one of those qualities which are concomitant to its own nature. Thus, an animal is said to be perfect absolutely when it attains to its end in so far as to lack nothing necessary to the integrity of animal life, when, for instance, it possesses the requisite number and the proper disposition of its limbs, and the faculties necessary for performing the operations of animal life. An animal is, on the other hand, perfect relatively, if it be perfect in any attribute concomitant to its nature, its colour, for instance, its odour, etc. Sic igitur et in spirituali vita simpliciter quidem homo perfectus dicitur ratione eius in quo principaliter spiritualis vita consistit; sed secundum quid perfectus dici potest ratione cuiuscumque quod spirituali vitae adiungitur. Consistit autem principaliter spiritualis vita in caritate: quam qui non habet, nihil esse spiritualiter reputatur: unde apostolus I Cor. XIII, 2, dicit: si habuero prophetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia et omnem scientiam, et si habuero omnem fidem, ita ut montes transferam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil sum. Beatus etiam Ioannes apostolus totam spiritualem vitam in dilectione consistere asserit, dicens I Ioan. III, 14: nos scimus quoniam translati sumus de morte in vitam, quoniam diligimus fratres. Qui non diligit, manet in morte. Simpliciter igitur in spirituali vita perfectus est qui est in caritate perfectus; secundum quid autem perfectus dici potest, secundum quodcumque quod spirituali vitae adiungitur: quod evidenter ex verbis sacrae Scripturae ostendi potest. In the spiritual life a man may be called perfect absolutely, i.e. perfect in that wherein the spiritual life principally consists. He may, also, be perfect relatively, i.e. perfect in some quality which is a condition of the spiritual life. Now, the spiritual life consists, principally, in charity. For he that is without charity is spiritually nought. Hence St. Paul says (1 Cor. xiii. 2), “If I should have all prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity I am nothing.” And the blessed apostle John declares, that the whole spiritual life consists in love, saying, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that does not love abides in death” (1 John iii. 14). Therefore, he that is perfect in charity is said to be perfect in the spiritual life absolutely. But he that is perfect relatively is perfect in something incidental to the spiritual life This is evident from the words of Holy Scripture. Apostolus enim ad Col. III, 14, perfectionem principaliter caritati attribuit: enumeratis enim multis virtutibus, scilicet misericordia, benignitate humilitate, etc., subdit: super omnia haec caritatem habete, quae est vinculum perfectionis. Sed et secundum intellectus cognitionem aliqui dicuntur esse perfecti. Dicit enim idem apostolus, I ad Cor. XIV 20: malitia parvuli estote; sensibus autem perfecti: et alibi in eadem epistola (cap. I, 10): sitis perfecti in eodem sensu et in eadem scientia: cum tamen, sicut dictum est, quantumcumque quis habeat perfectam scientiam, sine caritate nihil esse iudicetur. Sic etiam et perfectus aliquis dici potest et secundum patientiam, quae opus perfectum habet, ut Iacobus dicit, et secundum quascumque alias virtutes. Nec hoc debet mirum videri: quia etiam in malis aliquis dicitur esse perfectus, sicut dicitur aliquis perfectus fur aut latro: et hoc etiam modo loquendi interdum Scriptura utitur: dicitur enim Isai. XXXII, 6: cor stulti faciet iniquitatem, ut perficiat simulationem. St. Paul considers charity as the chief element in perfection. He enumerates several virtues, such as mercy, benignity, and humility, and then concludes by saying, “But above all these things, have charity which is the bond of perfection” (Col iii). Some men are also said to be perfect in point of understanding, “In malice be children and in sense be perfect,” writes St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Epist. xiv. 20). Elsewhere in the same epistle, he bids them “be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. i. 10); although, as has been said, a man who has perfect knowledge, without charity, must be judged to be nothing. Thus also, a man may be said to be perfect in patience which “performs a perfect work,” as St. James says, perfect also in other virtues. There is nothing surprising in this manner of speaking, for persons may be perfect in their vices. Thus we may talk of a man being “a perfect thief” or “a perfect robber.” Indeed, this mode of expression is used in Holy Scripture, for Isaias says, “ his heart (i.e. the heart of the fool) will work iniquity to perfect hypocrisy” (xxxii. 6).
Quod perfectio attenditur tam secundum dilectionem Dei quam secundum dilectionem proximi
Perfection Is Understood to Mean Both the Love of God, and the Love of Our Neighbour
Perfectione igitur circa caritatem principaliter considerata, plane accipi potest in quo perfectio spiritualis vitae consistat. Sunt enim duo praecepta caritatis: quorum unum pertinet ad dilectionem Dei, aliud ad dilectionem proximi. Quae quidem duo praecepta ordinem quendam ad invicem habent secundum ordinem caritatis. Nam id quod principaliter caritate diligendum est, est summum bonum, quod nos beatos facit, scilicet Deus; secundario vero diligendus ex caritate est proximus, qui nobis quodam sociali iure coniungitur in beatitudinis participatione: unde hoc est quod in proximo ex caritate debemus diligere, ut simul ad beatitudinem perveniamus. THE perfection of the spiritual life may be understood as signifying principally perfection, as it regards charity. Now there are two precepts of charity, one pertaining to the love of God; the other referring to the love of our neighbour. These two precepts bear a certain order to each other, proportioned to the order of charity. That which is chiefly to be loved, by charity, is the Supreme Good, which makes us happy, that is to say, God. In the next place, we are, by charity, to love our neighbour, who is, by certain social bonds, united to us, either by the anticipation of beatitude, or in the enjoyment of it. Hence, we are bound in charity to love our neighbour, in order that, together with him, we may arrive at beatitude. Hunc autem ordinem praeceptorum caritatis dominus in Evangelio Matth. XXII, 37, ostendit dicens: diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et in tota anima tua, et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum et primum mandatum. Secundum autem simile est huic: diliges proximum tuum sicut te ipsum. Primo ergo et principaliter consistit spiritualis vitae perfectio in dilectione Dei: unde dominus ad Abraham loquens dicit, Gen. XVII 1: ego Deus omnipotens; ambula coram me, et esto perfectus. Ambulatur autem coram Deo non passibus corporis, sed affectibus mentis. Secundario vero consistit spiritualis vitae perfectio in proximi dilectione: unde dominus cum dixisset Matth. V, 44: diligite inimicos vestros, et plura subiunxisset quae ad dilectionem proximi pertinent, concludit in fine: estote ergo perfecti, sicut et pater vester caelestis perfectus est. Our Lord establishes this order of charity in the Gospel of St. Matthew (xxii. 37), where He says, “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole mind. This is the first and greatest commandment; and the second is like to this: love your neighbour as yourself.” Thus, the perfection of the spiritual life consists, primarily and principally, in the love of God. Hence the Lord, speaking to Abraham, says, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be perfect” (Gen. xvii. 1). We walk before God, not with bodily footsteps, but with the affections of the mind. The perfection of the spiritual life consists, secondarily, in the love of our neighbour. Therefore when our Lord had said, “Love your enemies “ (Matt. v. 44), and had added several other precepts regarding charity to our neighbour, He concluded by saying, “Be therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
De perfectione divinae dilectionis, quae soli Deo convenit
The Perfection of Divine Love Which Exists in God Alone
In utraque autem dilectione multiplex perfectionis gradus invenitur. Et quantum ad dilectionem Dei pertinet, primus et summus perfectionis gradus divinae dilectionis convenit soli Deo. Qui quidem modus consideratur et ex parte diligibilis et ex parte diligentis: dico autem ex parte diligibilis, ut scilicet aliquid tantum diligatur quantum diligibile est. Ex parte vero diligentis, ut aliquid diligatur secundum totam facultatem diligentis. Cum autem unumquodque sit diligibile, secundum quod est bonum: bonitas Dei cum sit infinita, infinite diligibilis est. Infinite autem diligere nulla creatura potest, quia nullius virtutis finitae potest esse actus infinitus. Solus ergo Deus, cuius est tanta virtus in diligendo quanta est bonitas eius, se ipsum perfecte diligere potest secundum primum perfectionis modum. IN each of the two divisions of charity there are many degrees. As regards the love of God, the first and supreme degree of perfection of Divine love belongs to God alone. This is the case on account both of the One who is loved, and of the one who loves. It is the case on account of the loved one, because every object is loved in proportion to the qualities which make it lovable. It is the case on account of the lover, because an object is loved in proportion to the whole capacity of the one who loves. Now, as every object is lovable in proportion to its goodness, the goodness of God, which is infinite, must be infinitely lovable. But no creature can love infinitely, because no finite power is able to elicit an infinite act. Therefore, God alone, whose power of loving equals His Goodness, can love Himself perfectly in the first degree of perfection.
De perfectione divinae dilectionis, quae convenit comprehensoribus
The Perfection of Divine Love Which Exists in Those Who Have Attained to Beatitude
Creaturae igitur rationali hic solus modus perfecte Deum diligendi possibilis est qui sumitur ex parte diligentis: ut scilicet secundum totam suam virtutem creatura rationalis diligat Deum: unde et in ipso divinae dilectionis praecepto hoc manifeste exprimitur. Dicitur enim Deut. VI, 5: diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex tota fortitudine tua; sed Luc. X, 27, additur: et ex omni mente tua: ut cor referatur ad intentionem, mens ad cognitionem, anima ad affectionem, fortitudo ad executionem. Haec enim omnia in Dei dilectione sunt expendenda. Considerandum est autem, quod hoc dupliciter impleri contingit. Cum enim totum et perfectum sit cui nihil deest, ex toto corde et anima, fortitudine et mente Deus diligetur, si nihil in his omnibus nobis desit quin totum actualiter convertatur in Deum. THE only mode of loving God perfectly which is possible to rational creatures, is the mode which belongs to him that loves. In this manner a rational creature loves God with all the completeness of his nature. This is made clear in the precept of Divine love. We read in Deuteronomy (vi. 5), “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul and with all your strength.” St. Luke (x. 27) adds, “and with all your mind”; as if the “heart” regulated the intention, the “mind” the thought, the “soul” the affections, and the “strength” the activities. For all these must be devoted to the love of God. We must remember that this precept may be fulfilled in a two-fold manner. When anything is perfect, nothing is wanting to it. Hence, when the love of God is complete and perfect, He is loved with the whole heart, and soul, and strength; so that there is nothing within us which is not actually turned to God. Sed hic perfectae dilectionis modus non est viatorum, sed comprehensorum. Unde apostolus ad Philip. III, 12, dicit: non quod iam acceperim, aut iam perfectus sim; sequor autem si quo modo comprehendam; quasi tunc perfectionem expectans, cum ad comprehensionem pervenerit, beatitudinis palmam accipiens. Comprehensionem autem accipit non secundum quod importat inclusionem aut terminationem comprehensi, sic enim Deus incomprehensibilis est omni creaturae; sed secundum quod comprehensio importat consecutionem eius quod aliquis insequendo quaesivit. In illa enim caelesti beatitudine semper actualiter intellectus et voluntas creaturae rationalis in Deum fertur, cum in divina fruitione illa beatitudo consistat. Beatitudo autem non est in habitu, sed in actu. Et quia Deo creatura rationalis inhaerebit tanquam ultimo fini, qui est veritas summa; in finem autem ultimum omnia per intentionem referuntur, et secundum regulam ultimi finis omnia exequenda disponuntur; consequens est quod in illa beatitudinis perfectione creatura rationalis diliget Deum ex toto corde, dum tota eius intentio feretur in Deum ex omnibus quae cogitat, amat, aut agit; ex tota mente, dum semper actualiter mens eius feretur in Deum, ipsum semper videns, et omnia in ipso et secundum eius veritatem de omnibus iudicans; ex tota anima, dum tota affectio eius ad Deum diligendum feretur continue, et propter ipsum omnia diligentur; ex tota fortitudine vel ex omnibus viribus, dum omnium exteriorum actuum ratio erit Dei dilectio. Hic est ergo secundus perfectae dilectionis divinae modus, qui est beatorum. This perfect mode of love is not possible to those who are on the way to Heaven, but only to those who have reached their goal. Hence, St. Paul writing to the Philippians says (chap. iii. 12), “Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend.” He writes as if he were hoping for perfection when he should have reached his goal, and when he should have received the palm of the blessed. But St. Paul does not use the word “attaining” in the sense of entire possession or perfect comprehension, for God in this sense is incomprehensible to every creature. By “attaining” he means reaching the end which he has been following and seeking. In Heaven, the understanding and the will of every rational creature is turned to God; since it is in the fruition of the Godhead that the beatitude of Heaven consists. For beatitude exists not in habit, but in act. And, since the rational creature will in Heaven cleave to God, the Supreme Truth, as to its last End, all its activities will, by intention, likewise be directed to that Last End, and will all be disposed towards the attainment of that End. Consequently, in that perfection of happiness, the rational creature will love God with its whole heart; since its whole intention in all its thoughts, deeds, and affections, will be wholly directed to Him. It will love God with its whole mind, for its mind will be ever actually fixed on Him, beholding Him, and seeing all things in Him, and judging of all things according to His truth. It will love God with its whole soul, for all its affection will be uninterruptedly fixed on Him, and for His sake it will love all things. It will love God with all its strength, since His love will be the motive governing all its exterior acts. This, then, is the second mode of perfect love, and this love is the portion only of the blessed.
De perfectione divinae dilectionis, quae in statu huius viae est de necessitate salutis
The Perfection of Divine Love Which is Necessary to Salvation
Alio vero modo ex toto corde, mente, anima et fortitudine Deum diligimus si nihil nobis desit ad divinam dilectionem, quod actu vel habitu in Deum non referamus; et haec divinae dilectionis perfectio datur homini in praecepto. THERE is another way in which we love God with our whole heart and soul and strength. We so love Him, if there be nothing in us which is wanting to divine love, that is to say, if there is nothing which we do not, actually or habitually, refer to God. We are given a precept concerning this form of Divine love. Primo quidem ut homo omnia in Deum referat sicut in finem, sicut apostolus dicit I Cor. X, 31: sive manducatis sive bibitis vel aliquid aliud facitis, omnia in gloriam Dei facite: quod quidem impletur cum aliquis vitam suam ad Dei servitium ordinat, et per consequens omnia quae propter se ipsum agit, virtualiter ordinantur in Deum, nisi sint talia quae a Deo abducant, sicut peccata: et sic Deum diligit homo ex toto corde. First, we are taught to refer everything to God as to our End by the words of the Apostle (1 Cor. x. 31), “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” We fulfil this precept when we order our life to the service of God; and when, in consequence, all our actions are, virtually, directed to Him, save those that are sinful, and which, therefore, withdraw us from Him. While we act thus, we love God with our whole heart. Secundo, ut intellectum suum homo Deo subiiciat, ea credens quae divinitus traduntur, secundum illud apostoli II Cor. X, 5: in captivitatem redigentes omnem intellectum in obsequium Christi: et sic Deus diligitur ex tota mente. Secondly, we love God with our whole mind, when we subject our understanding to Him, believing what has been divinely transmitted to us, according to the words of St. Paul (2 Cor. x. 5), “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.” Tertio, ut quaecumque homo amat, in Deo amet, et universaliter omnem suam affectionem ad Dei dilectionem referat: unde apostolus dicebat in II ad Cor. V 13 - 14: sive mente excedimus, Deo; sive sobrii sumus, vobis; caritas enim Christi urget nos: et sic Deus ex tota anima diligitur. Thirdly, we love God with our whole soul, when all that we love is loved in God, and when we refer all our affections to the love of Him. St. Paul expresses this love in the following words: “For whether we be transported in mind it is to God, or whether we be sober, it is for you; for the charity of Christ presses us” (2 Cor. v. 13). Quarto, ut omnia exteriora nostra, verba et opera ex divina caritate deriventur, secundum illud apostoli I ad Cor. ult. 14: omnia vestra in caritate fiant; et sic Deus ex tota fortitudine diligitur. Hic est ergo tertius perfectae divinae dilectionis modus, ad quem omnes ex necessitate praecepti obligantur. Secundus vero modus nulli est possibilis in hac vita, nisi simul fuerit viator et comprehensor, ut dominus Iesus Christus. Fourthly, we love God with our whole strength, when all our words and works are established in divine charity according to the precept of St. Paul, “Let all your things be done in charity” (1 Cor. xvi. 14). This, then, is the third degree of perfection of divine love, to which all are bound of necessity and by precept. But the second degree is not possible in this life, save to one who, like Our Lord Jesus Christ, is, at the same time, both travelling on the road to Heaven, and enjoying the happiness of the Blessed.”
De perfectione divinae dilectionis quae cadit sub consilio
The Perfection of Divine Love Which is A Matter of Counsel
Sed cum apostolus dixisset: non quod iam comprehenderim, aut perfectus sim, subdit: sequor autem, si quo modo comprehendam; et postmodum subdit: quicumque ergo perfecti sumus, hoc sentiamus. Ex quibus verbis manifeste accipitur quod etsi comprehensorum perfectio non sit nobis possibilis in hac vita, aemulari tamen debemus ut in similitudinem perfectionis illius, quantum possibile est, nos trahamus: et in hoc perfectio huius vitae consistit, ad quam per consilia invitamur. WHEN St. Paul had said to the Philippians, “Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect,” he continued, “but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend.” Shortly afterwards he added, “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded.” From these words it is plain that, although the perfection of the blessed is not possible to us in this life, we ought, nevertheless, to endeavour, as far as we can, to emulate it. Now, it is in this effort that consists the perfection in this life, to which we are invited by the counsels. Manifestum namque est quod humanum cor tanto intensius in aliquid unum fertur, quanto magis a multis revocatur. Sic igitur tanto perfectius animus hominis ad Deum diligendum fertur, quanto magis ab affectu temporalium removetur. Unde Augustinus dicit in libro LXXXIII quaestionum quod venenum caritatis est cupiditas temporalium rerum, augmentum vero eius est cupiditatis diminutio; perfectio vero nulla cupiditas. Omnia igitur consilia, quibus ad perfectionem invitamur, ad hoc pertinent ut animus hominis ab affectu temporalium avertatur, ut sic liberius mens tendat in Deum, contemplando, amando, et eius voluntatem implendo. It is abundantly clear, that the human heart is more intensely attracted to one object, in proportion as it is withdrawn from a multiplicity of desires. Therefore, the more a man is delivered from solicitude concerning temporal matters, the more perfectly he will be enabled to love God. Hence St. Augustine says (De Diversis Quaestionibus Octaginta Tribus, Lib. lxxxiii. Quest.1) that, the hope of gaining, or keeping, material wealth, is the poison of charity; that, as charity increases, cupidity diminishes; and that, when charity becomes perfect, cupidity ceases to exist. Hence, all the counsels which call man to perfection tend to withdraw his affections from temporal objects; so that, his sour is enabled the more freely to turn to God by contemplating Him, loving Him, and fulfilling His will.
De prima perfectionis via quae est per dimissionem temporalium
The First Means of Perfection, Viz.: the Renunciation of Earthly Possessions
Inter temporalia vero bona primo relinquenda occurrunt bona extrinseca, quae divitiae nuncupantur; et hoc dominus consulit Matth. XIX, 21, dicens: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus; et habebis thesaurum in caelo: et veni, sequere me: cuius consilii utilitas consequenter ostenditur. Primo quidem per evidentiam facti. Nam cum adolescens, qui de via perfectionis quaesierat hoc audisset, abiit tristis. Causaque tristitiae, ut Ieronymus dicit super Matth., redditur: erat enim habens multas possessiones, idest spinas, et tribulos, quae sementem dominicam suffocaverunt. Et Chrysostomus idem exponens dicit quod: non similiter detinentur qui pauca habent, et qui multis abundant: quoniam adiectio divitiarum maiorem accendit flammam, et violentior fit cupido. Augustinus etiam dicit in Epist. ad Paulinum et Therasiam, quod terrena diliguntur artius adepta, quam concupita constringant; nam unde iuvenis ille tristis discessit, nisi quia magnas habebat divitias? Aliud est enim nolle incorporare quae desunt, aliud iam incorporata divellere. Illa enim velut extranea repudiantur, ista velut membra praeciduntur. THE first among the material possessions to be renounced are those extrinsic goods that we call riches. Our Lord counselled us to relinquish them when He said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow me” (Matt. xix. 21). The utility of this counsel is evident. First, we have the evidence of a fact. For, when the young man who was inquiring about perfection heard the words of Christ, he went away sad. And “Behold,” says St. Jerome in his commentary on St. Matthew, “the cause of this sadness. He had many possessions, which, like thorns and briars, choked the seed of the Lord’s words.” St. Chrysostom, writing on the same passage, says that, “they who possess but little, and they that abound in riches, do not encounter the same obstacles; for the renunciation of wealth enkindles a more mighty fire and causes avarice to grow greater.” St. Augustine likewise says, in his epistle to Paulinus and Therasia, that “when earthly things are inordinately loved, those that we already possess fetter us more closely than those that we desire; for why did this young man go away sad, save because he had great possessions? For, it is one thing not to be anxious to acquire the things that we lack, but quite another to be ready to divest ourselves of those that we possess. For the things that are not ours we can repudiate as extrinsic to ourselves, but our own possessions are dear to us as the limbs of our body.” Secundo vero utilitas praedicti consilii manifestatur per domini verba quae subdidit: quia dives difficile intrabit in regnum caelorum. Ut enim Ieronymus dicit, quia divitiae habitae difficile contemnuntur. Non dixit: impossibile est divitem intrare in regnum caelorum, sed difficile: ubi difficile ponitur, non impossibilitas praetenditur, sed raritas demonstratur. Et, sicut Chrysostomus dicit super Matth., procedit ulterius dominus ad ostendendum quod est impossibile, dicens: facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire, quam divitem intrare in regnum caelorum. Ex quibus verbis, ut Augustinus dicit in Lib. de quaest. Evang., discipuli adverterunt, omnes qui divitias cupiunt, in divitum haberi numero: alioquin cum pauci sint divites in comparatione multitudinis pauperum, non quaesivissent discipuli: quis ergo poterit salvus esse? The utility of this counsel is again shown us by those words of our Lord, “A rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” St. Jerome tells us the reason of this difficulty. “It is,” he says, “because it is hard to despise the riches that we possess. Our Lord does not say that it is impossible, but that it is hard, for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For difficulty does not mean impossibility, but signifies infrequency of performance.” And, as St. Chrysostom, says on the Gospel of St. Matthew, If the Lord goes further, proving that it is impossible, “For,” He says, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” “From these words,” says St. Augustine (lib. de Quest. Evang.), “the disciples understood that all they that covet riches are included in the number of the rich; otherwise, considering how small is the number of the wealthy in comparison to the vast multitude of the poor, they would not have asked, “Who then shall be saved?” Ex quibus duabus domini sententiis aperte ostenditur, quod divitias possidentes difficile intrant in regnum caelorum: quia, sicut ipse dominus alibi dicit, sollicitudo saeculi istius et fallacia divitiarum suffocat verbum Dei, et sine fructu efficitur. Eos vero qui divitias inordinate amant, impossibile est intrare in regnum caelorum, multo magis quam ad litteram camelum per foramen acus transire: hoc enim est impossibile, quia repugnat naturae; illud vero, quia repugnat divinae iustitiae, quae est virtuosior omni natura creata. Ex his ergo manifeste apparet ratio divini consilii: consilium enim datur de eo quod est utilius, secundum illud apostoli II ad Cor. VIII, 10: consilium in hoc do: hoc enim utile est. From these two utterances of Our Lord it is clearly evident, that he that possesses riches, will, with difficulty, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. For, as He says elsewhere (Matt. xiii. 22), “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” In truth, it is impossible for those to enter Heaven who love money inordinately. Far easier is it for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. The latter feat would indeed be impossible without violating the laws of nature. Bit if a covetous man were admitted into Heaven it would be contrary to Divine Justice, which is more unfailing than any natural law. Hence, we see the reasonableness of Our Lord’s counsel; for a counsel is given concerning that which is most useful, according to the words of St. Paul (2 Cor. viii. 10), “Herein I give my advice, for this is profitable for you.” Utilius autem est ad vitam aeternam consequendam divitias abiicere quam eas possidere: quia possidentes divitias difficile intrant in regnum caelorum, eo quod difficile sit affectum divitiis possessis non alligari; quod iam facit impossibilitatem intrandi in regnum caelorum. Salubriter ergo dominus consuluit tanquam utilius, ut divitiae relinquantur. If we wish to attain eternal life, it is more advantageous for us to renounce our possessions than to retain them. They that possess wealth will hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; the reason being got it is difficult to prevent our affections from being attached to riches, and that such an Attachment makes admission into Heaven impossible, Therefore, Our Lord, with good reason, has counselled the renunciation of riches as our most profitable course. Sed potest aliquis contra praemissa obicere quia Matthaeus et Zachaeus divitias habuerunt, et tamen in regnum caelorum intraverunt. Sed hoc Hieronymus solvens dicit: considerandum est quod eo tempore quo intraverunt, divites esse desierant. Sed cum Abraham nunquam dives esse desierit, quin potius in divitiis fuerit mortuus, et eas in morte reliquerit filiis, ut in Genesi legitur; videtur secundum praedicta non fuisse perfectus; cum tamen ad eum dominus dixerit, Gen. XVII, 1: esto perfectus. Quae quidem quaestio solvi non posset, si perfectio Christianae vitae in ipsa dimissione divitiarum consisteret. Sequeretur enim quod qui divitias possidet, non possit esse perfectus. Sed si verba domini diligenter considerentur, non in ipsa divitiarum dimissione perfectionem posuit; sed hoc ostendit esse quasi quandam perfectionis viam, ut ipse modus loquendi ostendit, cum dicitur: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus, et sequere me: quasi in sequela Christi consistat perfectio, dimissio vero divitiarum sit perfectionis via: It may be objected, however, that St. Matthew, St. Bartholomew, and Zaccheus were rich; nevertheless, they entered into Heaven. St. Jerome replies, that, “we must remember that they had ceased to be wealthy at the time of their admission to Heaven.”Abraham, however, never lost his wealth, but, as we read in Genesis, died a rich man, bequeathing his property to his sons. How then could he be perfect? Nevertheless God said to him, “Be perfect” (Gen. xvii. 1). This question cannot be answered if we hold that it is the mere renunciation of wealth which constitutes perfection. For, if such were the case, no one who was rich could be perfect. Our Lord does not say that perfection lies in giving up what we possess, but He mentions this renunciation of our possessions as a means to perfection. We see this by His own words, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you hast and give to the poor, and follow me.”The following of Christ constitutes perfection; the sacrifice of riches is a means to perfection. unde Hieronymus dicit super Matth.: quia non sufficit tantum relinquere, iungit Petrus quod perfectum est: et secuti sumus te. Origenes etiam in eodem loco dicit, quod hoc quod dicitur: si vis perfectus esse etc., non sic intelligitur ut in ipso tempore quo tradiderit bona sua pauperibus, fiat omnino perfectus; sed ex illa die incipiet speculatio Dei adducere eum ad omnes virtutes. Potest ergo contingere quod aliquis divitias possidens perfectionem habeat, caritate perfecta Deo inhaerens; et hoc modo Abraham divitias possidens perfectus fuit, non quidem habens animum divitiis irretitum, sed totaliter Deo coniunctum: et hoc significant verba domini dicentis ad eum: ambula coram me, et esto perfectus: quasi in hoc eius perfectionem esse ostendens quod coram Deo ambulaverit, eum perfecte amando usque ad contemptum sui et omnium suorum; quod maxime in immolatione filii demonstravit: unde ei dictum est: quia fecisti rem hanc, et non pepercisti filio tuo propter me, benedicam tibi. Gen. XXII, 16. St. Jerome, commenting on the Gospel of St. Matthew, says, “As if to show that merely giving up our possessions does not suffice to make us perfect, Peter mentions that wherein perfection consists, when he says, ‘We have followed you.’” Origen, again, says on the same passage, “We are not to gather from the words, ‘if you would be perfect’ that when a man has given his goods to the poor, he becomes perfect at once. What we are to understand is, that from that time, his contemplation of God begins to attract him to all virtues.” A rich man may be perfect if his affections be not entangled in his possessions, but devoted entirely to God. In this way Abraham was perfect. Although he possessed wealth, he was detached from it. The words of the Lord spoken to him, “Walk before me and be perfect,” make it clear, that the perfection of the Patriarch was to consist in walking before God, and in loving Him with a love so perfect that it reached to contempt of himself, and of all that belonged to him. So perfect, indeed, was his love of God, that he showed it by his readiness to slay his son. Wherefore the Lord said to him, “Because you have done this thing, and have not spared your only begotten son for my sake, I will bless you” (Gen. xxii. 16). Si quis vero ex hoc arguere velit inutile esse consilium domini de divitiis dimittendis, quia Abraham divitias possidens fuit perfectus, ad hoc iam patet responsio ex praedictis. Non enim dominus ea ratione hoc dedit consilium quasi divites perfecti esse non possint, aut intrare in regnum caelorum; sed quia non de facili possunt. Magna ergo virtus fuit Abrahae quod etiam divitias possidens, a divitiis liberum animum habuit; sicut magna virtus fuit Samson, qui absque armis cum sola mandibula asinae multos hostes prostravit: nec tamen inutiliter consilium datur militi, ut ad bellum procedens assumat arma ad hostes vincendos. Nec ergo inutiliter datur consilium perfectionem desiderantibus ut dimittant divitias, quia in divitiis Abraham potuit esse perfectus. If anyone should still argue, that the counsel of Our Lord concerning the renunciation of possessions is futile, because Abraham, though a rich man, was perfect, we will refer him for an answer to what has been already said. Our Lord, we repeat, did not mean, by this counsel, that rich men cannot be perfect, or cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but He meant that they cannot do so easily. The virtue of Abraham was very great; for, although possessed of great wealth, his heart was detached from riches. The virtue, likewise, of Samson was eminent, for, armed only with the jawbone of an ass, he slew many of his enemies; nevertheless the instruction which he gave to the soldier to take up arms in combat with his foes, was not unprofitable. Neither, then, is it useless to counsel those that seek perfection to part with their earthly goods, although Abraham was perfect with all his wealth. Facta enim mirabilia non sunt ad consequentiam trahenda: quia infirmi ea magis mirari et laudare possunt quam imitari: unde et in Eccli. dicitur XXXI 8: beatus est dives qui inventus est sine macula, et qui post aurum non abiit, nec speravit in pecunia et thesauris. Magnae enim virtutis dives esse ostenditur, et perfecta caritate fixus in Deo, qui ex affectu divitiarum maculam peccati non trahit, qui post aurum concupiscendo non vadit, nec de divitiis confidendo per superbiam super alios se extollit: unde apostolus I ad Tim. ult. dicit: divitibus huius saeculi praecipe non altum sapere, nec sperare in incerto divitiarum. Sed quanto divitis taliter instituti maior est beatitudo et virtus, tanto talium divitum minor est numerus: unde sequitur: quis est hic, et laudabimus eum? Fecit enim mirabilia in vita sua. Vere enim mirabilia facit qui in divitiis vivens divitiis affluentibus cor non apponit: et si quis talis est, absque dubio probatur perfectus: unde sequitur: quis est probatus in illo, idest in hoc quod absque macula divitias habeat, et perfectus inventus est? Quasi dicat: rarus. Et hoc erit illi in gloriam aeternam: quod consonat verbis domini dicentis, quod difficile dives intrabit in regnum caelorum. We must not draw conclusions from wonderful deeds; for the weak among us are more capable of wondering at and praising such deeds, than of imitating them. Hence we read in Sirach xxxi. 8, “Blessed is the rich man who is found without blemish; who has not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures.” This passage proves that the rich man who does not sin by covetousness, nor by pride, must, indeed, be a man of tried virtue, with a heart adhering closely, by perfect charity, to God. St. Paul bids Timothy to “charge the rich of this world not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches”(1 Tim. vi. 17). The greater the blessedness and the virtue of the wealthy who obey this behest, the smaller is their number. Thus Sirach (xxxi) speaking of a virtuous and yet a wealthy man, says: “Who is he, and we will praise him? for he has done wonderful things in his life.” For truly, he who, while abounding in riches has not set his heart upon his treasures, has indeed done wonderful things, and without the shadow of a doubt has proved himself perfect. The same chapter of Sirach continues, “Who has been tried thereby,” that is to say, who has been tested as to whether he can live a sinless life in the midst of wealth, “and made perfect.” This is as much as to say: “such a man is indeed rare, and his virtue will merit for him eternal glory.” This test of Sirach bears out the saying of Our Lord, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Haec est ergo prima via perveniendi ad perfectionem, ut aliquis studio sequendi Christum, dimissis divitiis paupertatem sectetur. This, then, is the first means of attaining perfection, to wit the-renunciation of riches, and the profession of poverty, from a desire of following Christ.
De secunda perfectionis via, quae est per abdicationem carnalium affectuum et matrimonii
The Second Means of Perfection Which is the Renunciation, of Earthly Ties and of Matrimony
Ut autem secundam perfectionis viam convenientius ostendamus, accipiendum est verbum Augustini, qui dicit in 12 de Trin.: tanto magis inhaeretur Deo, quanto minus diligitur proprium. Secundum igitur ordinem propriorum bonorum quae homo propter Deum contemnit, est attendendus ordo eorum quibus ad perfectam Dei inhaesionem pervenitur. IN order the more clearly to understand this second means of perfection, we should reflect on the words of St. Augustine which occur in xii. de Trinit.: “The less a man loves his private possessions, the more closely will he cleave to God.”Hence, according to the order of the things which a man sacrifices for the love of God, will be the order of those things which will enable him to adhere perfectly to God. Prius enim relinquenda occurrunt quae minus nobis coniuncta existunt: unde in primo loco occurrit ad perfectionem tendentibus exteriora bona relinquere, quae a nostra natura sunt separata. Post haec vero relinquenda occurrunt ea quae nobis naturae communione et affinitatis cuiusque necessitate coniunguntur. Unde dominus dicit, Luc. XIV, 26: si quis venerit ad me, et non odit patrem suum et matrem et uxorem et filios et fratres et sorores (...) non potest meus esse discipulus. The things to be first given up, are those least closely united to ourselves. Therefore, the renunciation of material possessions, which are extrinsic to. our nature, must be our first step on the road to perfection. The next objects to be sacrificed will be those which are united to our nature, by a certain communion and necessary affinity. Hence, Our Lord says, “If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple “(Luke xiv. 26). Sed percunctare libet, ut Gregorius dicit, quomodo parentes et carnales amicos praecipimur odisse, qui iubemur et inimicos diligere. Sed si vim praecepti perpendimus, utrumque agere per discretionem valemus (...) quasi enim per odium diligitur qui carnaliter sapiens dum prava nobis ingerit, non auditur. Sic enim exhibere proximis nostris odii discretionem debemus: ut in eis et diligamus quod sunt, et habeamus odio quod in Dei nobis itinere obsistunt. Quisquis enim iam aeterna concupiscit, in eam quam aggreditur causam Dei, extra patrem, extra matrem, extra uxorem, extra filios, extra cognatos, extra semetipsum fieri debet; ut eo verius cognoscat Deum, quo in eius causa neminem cognoscit. But, as St. Gregory says, “It is permissible to inquire how we can be commanded to hate our parents and kinsfolk, when we are bidden to love even our enemies? If, however, we carefully consider this precept, we shall be able to obey it by means of discretion. For, when we refuse to listen to one who, savouring earthly things, suggests to us to do what is wrong, we at the same time love him and hate him. Thus we must bear this discreet hatred towards our kinsfolk, loving in them what they are in themselves, and hating them when they hinder our progress towards God. For, whosoever desires eternal life must, for the love of God, be independent of father and mother, of wife, children, and relations, yea, detached from self, in order that he may the better know God, for whose sake he loses sight of every other. For it is but too clear, that earthly affections warp the mind, and blunt its keenness.” Manifestum namque est quod carnales affectus intentionem mentis diverberant, eiusque aciem obscurant. Inter ceteras autem proximorum necessitudines maxime affectu coniugali humanus animus irretitur; intantum quod, sicut dicitur Gen. II, 24, ex ore primi parentis, relinquet homo patrem et matrem, et adhaerebit uxori suae: et ideo ad perfectionem tendentibus maxime coniugale vinculum est vitandum, quia per hoc homo maxime curis saecularibus implicatur. Et hanc causam apostolus assignat sui consilii, quod dederat de continentia servanda, dicens I ad Cor. VII, 32: qui sine uxore est sollicitus est quae sunt domini, quomodo placeat Deo; qui autem cum uxore est, solicitus est quae sunt mundi. Now amongst all relationships the conjugal tie does, more than any other, engross men’s hearts. So that our first parent said (Gen. ii. 24): “A man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife.” Hence, they who are aiming at perfection, must, above all things, avoid the bond of marriage, which, in a pre-eminent degree, entangles men in earthly concerns. This is the reason which St. Paul gives for his counsel concerning continence. “He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife” (1 Cor. vii. 32). Ut ergo homo liberius Deo vacet, eique perfectius inhaereat, secunda ad perfectionem via est perpetua observatio castitatis. Habet autem et hoc continentiae bonum aliam idoneitatem ad perfectionem adipiscendam. Impeditur enim animus hominis ne libere Deo possit vacare, non solum ex amore exteriorum rerum, sed multo magis ex interiorum passionum impulsu. Inter omnes autem interiores passiones maxime rationem absorbet concupiscentia carnis, et venereorum usus: unde Augustinus dicit in I Lib. Soliloquiorum: nihil esse sentio quod magis ex arce deiciat animum virilem, quam blandimenta feminae, corporumque ille contactus, sine quo uxor haberi non potest. Et ideo continentiae via est maxime necessaria ad perfectionem consequendam: quam quidem viam apostolus consulit I ad Cor. VII, 25: de virginibus praeceptum domini non habeo; consilium autem do tanquam misericordiam consecutus (...) ut sim fidelis. Therefore, the second means whereby a man may be more free to devote himself to God, and to cleave more perfectly to Him, is by the observance of perpetual chastity. But continence possesses the further advantage of affording a peculiar facility to the acquirement of perfection. For, the soul is hindered in its free access to God, not only by the love of exterior things, but much more by force of interior passions. And, amongst these passions, the lust of the flesh does, beyond all others, overpower reason. Hence in Soliloquiorum (lib. 1) St. Augustine says, “I know nothing which doth more cast a manly soul down from the tower of its strength, than do the caresses of a woman, and the physical contact essential to marriage.” Thus, continence is most necessary to perfection. It is the way pointed out by St. Paul (1 Cor. vii. 25), “Concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.” Huius autem viae utilitas ostenditur Matth. XIX, 10: ubi cum discipuli Christo dicerent: si ita est causa hominis: cum uxore, non expedit nubere, dominus respondit: non omnes capiunt verbum istud, sed quibus datum est. In quo arduitatem huius viae ostendit: et quia ab eius consecutione deficit hominum virtus communis; et quia ad eam non nisi dono Dei pervenitur: unde dicitur Sap. VIII, 21: scivi, quoniam aliter non possum esse continens, nisi Deus det: et hoc ipsum erat summa sapientia scire cuius esset hoc donum. Cui consonat quod apostolus dicit I Cor. VII, 7: volo omnes homines esse sicut me ipsum qui continentiam servo: sed unusquisque proprium habet donum a Deo, alius quidem sic, alius vero sic: ubi aperte continentiae bonum dono Dei adscribitur. The advantage of virginity is also shown in St. Matthew (xix. 12). When the disciples said to Our Lord, “If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry,” He answered, “All men take not this word but those to whom it is given.” By these words we see the difficulty involved in continence, and the inadequacy of human virtue to lead such a life without the grace of God. We read in the Book of Wisdom (viii. 21), “I knew that I could not otherwise be continent except God gave it; and this also was a point of wisdom to know whose gift it was.” This saying is also borne out by the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. vii. 7), “I wish all men were as myself” (i.e. a virgin), “but everyone has his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that.” In these words he distinctly asserts that continence is a gift of God. Sed ne rursus aliquis ad hoc donum consequendum secundum suas vires conari negligat, dominus ad hoc hortatur consequenter. Et primo quidem exemplo, cum dicit: sunt eunuchi qui se ipsos castraverunt, non membrorum abscissione, ut Chrysostomus dicit, sed malarum cogitationum interemptione; et deinde invitat proponens praemium, cum subdit: propter regnum caelorum; quia dicitur Sap. IV, 2: casta generatio (...) in perpetuum coronata triumphat, incoinquinatorum certaminum praemium vincens: et ultimo hortatur verbo, cum dicit, qui potest capere capiat: quae, ut Hieronymus dicit: hortantis domini vox est, et milites suos ad pudicitiae praemium concitantis, quasi, qui potest pugnare, pugnet et superet ac triumphet. But, lest anyone should, on the other hand, fail to use his own endeavour to obtain this gift, our Lord exhorts all men to it. He first gives an illustration, saying, “There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs”; “not,” as St. Chrysostom explains, “by mutilation, but by resisting evil thoughts.” Then Christ goes on to invite all men to follow this example, for the sake of its reward. “There are some,” He continues, “who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Book of Wisdom also says (iv. 2), “The chaste generation triumphs, crowned for ever, winning the reward of undefiled conflicts.” Finally, Our Lord exhorts men to continence, by the words, “He that can take, let him take it.” “This,” says St. Jerome, “is the voice of the Lord encouraging his soldiers to win the prize of chastity. It is as if He said: he that can fight, let him fight and conquer.” Si quis autem obiectionem moveat de Abraham qui perfectus fuit, et aliis iustis antiquis a matrimonio non abstinentibus; patet responsio per hoc quod Augustinus dicit in Lib. de bono coniugali: continentia non corporis, sed animi virtus est. Virtutes autem animi aliquando in opere manifestantur, aliquando in habitu latent. Quocirca sicut non est impar meritum patientiae in Petro, qui passus est, et in Ioanne, qui passus non est; sic non impar meritum est continentiae in Ioanne, qui nullas expertus est nuptias, et in Abraham, qui filios generavit. Et illius enim caelibatus et illius connubium pro temporum distributione Christo militaverunt. Dicat ergo fidelis continens: ego quidem non sum melior quam Abraham; sed melior est castitas caelibum quam castitas nuptiarum; quarum Abraham unam habuit in usu, ambas in habitu: caste quippe coniugaliter vixit. Esse autem castus sine coniugio potuit, sed tunc non oportuit. Ego vero facilius non utor nuptiis, quibus est usus Abraham, quam sic uterer nuptiis quemadmodum est usus Abraham; et ideo melior sum illis qui per animi incontinentiam non possunt quod ego; non illis qui propter temporis differentiam non fecerunt quod ego. Quod enim ego nunc ago, melius illi egissent, si tunc agendum esset; quod autem illi egerunt, sic ego non agerem, etiamsi nunc agendum esset. If anyone should object to us the example of Abraham, and of other just men of old, who were perfect without refraining from matrimony, we will answer them in the words written by St. Augustine in his book, de bono conjugali. “The continence that is a virtue is that of the mind, not of the body. And virtue is sometimes revealed in deeds, and sometimes lies disguised as a habit. The patience of John who did not suffer martyrdom was equal in merit to that of Peter who was slain; and Abraham who fathered sons, was equal in continence to the virgin John. The marriage of the one and the celibacy of the other fought, each in their season, for Christ. Therefore, any one of the faithful who observes continence may say, “I am certainly no better than Abraham; but the chastity of celibacy is superior to the chastity of married life. Abraham practised the one actually, the other habitually. For he lived chastely as a husband, and could have lived continently had he been unmarried. The latter state, however, did not befit the time at which he lived. It is easier for me not to marry at all, (although Abraham married) than to live such a married life as he lived. Therefore, am I better than they, who could not, by continence of heart, do what I do; but I am not better than they, who, on account of the different time at which they lived, did not what I do. Had it been fitting, they, in their time, would have accomplished far better than I, that which I now do; but I, even were it now required, could not do what they achieved.” Haec autem Augustini solutio concordat cum eo quod supra dictum est de observantia paupertatis. Tantam enim virtutem perfectionis habebat in mente, ut nec propter temporalium possessionem nec propter usum coniugii mens eius deficeret a perfecta dilectione ad Deum. Si quis tamen eandem mentis virtutem non habens, cum possessione divitiarum et usu coniugii ad perfectionem pervenire contenderet, praesumptuose convinceretur errare, domini consilia parvipendens. This conclusion of St. Augustine agrees with what has already been said about poverty. For Abraham had arrived at such perfection that his heart never wavered. in love to God on account either of temporal possessions or of wedded life. But if another man who has not reached this height of virtue, strives to attain perfection, while retaining riches and engaging in matrimony, he will soon be made aware of his error in presuming to treat Our Lord’s words as of small account.
De his quibus homo iuvatur ad continentiam servandam
Aids to the Preservation of Chastity
Quia igitur per continentiae viam incedere tam arduum est, ut iuxta verbum domini, non omnes hoc capiant, sed Dei dono habeatur: per hanc viam incedere volentibus sic agere oportet ut ea devitent quibus a prosecutione huius itineris impediri possent. Triplex autem esse impedimentum continentiae apparet. Primum quidem ex parte corporis; secundum ex parte animae; tertium ex parte exteriorum personarum vel rerum. SINCE chastity is so difficult a virtue that, in Our Lord’s words, not all men “take it,” but those only “to whom it is given,” it is necessary for those who desire to live a life of continence, so to conduct themselves as to avoid all that might prove an obstacle in the prosecution of their design. Now there are three principal hindrances to continence. The first arises from the body. The second from the mind. The third from external circumstances, whether they be of persons or of things. Ex parte quidem proprii corporis: quia, sicut apostolus dicit ad Gal. V, 17, caro concupiscit adversus spiritum. Cuius carnis opera ibidem esse dicuntur fornicatio, immunditia, impudicitia et cetera huiusmodi. Haec autem concupiscentia carnis est lex de qua dicit Rom. VII, 23: video aliam legem in membris meis repugnantem legi mentis meae. Quanto autem caro magis fovetur per ciborum affluentiam et deliciarum mollitiem, tanto huiusmodi concupiscentia magis crescit: unde Hieronymus dicit: venter mero aestuans cito despumat in libidinem: et Prov. XX 1: luxuriosa res est vinum; et Iob XL, 16, dicitur de Behemoth per quem Diabolus significatur: sub umbra dormit in secreto calami in locis humentibus: quod exponens Gregorius 33 Moral. dicit: loca humentia sunt opera voluptuosa. Pes quippe in arida terra non labitur, fixus vero in lubrica vix tenetur. In locis ergo humentibus iter vitae praesentis faciunt qui in hac ad iustitiam recti stare non possunt. Oportet igitur continentiae viam assumentibus, carnem propriam, abstractis deliciis, vigiliis et ieiuniis et huiusmodi exercitiis castigare. The body is an obstacle to continence. As St. Paul says, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit” (Gal. v. 17), and “the works of the flesh are fornication, uncleanness, unchastity and the like.” Concupiscence is that law of the flesh, of which, in his epistle to the Romans, St. Paul says, “I see another law in my members fighting against the law of my mind” (Rom. vii. 23). Now the more the flesh is pampered, by superabundance of food, and by effeminacy of life, the more will its concupiscence increase. For, as St. Jerome says, “A man heated with wine will quickly give the rein to lust.” The book of Proverbs warns us against wine as “a luxurious thing” (Prov. xx.1). Job, again, tells us that Behemoth (by whom Satan is signified) “sleeps under the shadow, in the covert of the reed and in moist places” (chap. xl. 16). St. Gregory (33 Moral.) thus interprets this passage. “Moist places,” he says, “betoken voluptuous works. We do not slip on dry ground; but, we have no sure foothold on slippery soil. Hence, those men pursue the journey of this present life in moist places, who cannot hold themselves upright in justice.” He, then, who desires to undertake a life of continence, must chastise his flesh, by abstention from pleasure, and by fasts, vigils, and such like exercises. Cuius rei exemplum apostolus nobis ostendit, I ad Cor. IX, 25, dicens: omnis qui in agone contendit, ab omnibus se abstinet: et post modica subdit: castigo corpus meum et in servitutem redigo, ne, forte cum aliis praedicaverim, ipse reprobus efficiar: et quod opere perfecit, verbo docuit: dicit enim ad Rom. XIII, 13, cum praemisisset: non in cubilibus et impudicitiis: et carnis, inquit, curam ne feceritis in desideriis. Recte autem dicit in desideriis, idest ad voluptatem: quia ad necessitatem naturae carni cura est impendenda: unde idem apostolus dicit ad Eph. V 29: nemo carnem suam unquam odio habuit, sed nutrit, et fovet eam. St. Paul sets before us his own conduct as an example in this respect, “Every one who strives for mastery, refrains himself from all things... I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest, perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” (1 Cor. ix. 25), What the Apostle practised in deed, he taught in word. In his Epistle to the Romans (xiii. 14), after his warning against “chambering and impurities,” he concludes, “make no provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” He rightly lays stress upon the concupiscences of the flesh, i.e. its desire for pleasure; for it is incumbent on us to make provision for what is necessary for our body, and St. Paul himself says (Eph. v. 29), “No man ever hates his own flesh, but he nourishes and cherishes it.” Ex parte autem animae propositum continentiae impeditur, dum lascivis cogitationibus aliquis immoratur; unde dominus per prophetam dicit, Isai. I, 16: auferte malum cogitationum vestrarum ab oculis meis. Malae enim cogitationes plerumque ad male faciendum inducunt; unde dicitur Mich. II, 1: vae qui cogitatis inutile: et statim subditur: et operamini malum in cubilibus vestris. Inter ceteras tamen cogitationes malas magis ad peccandum inclinant cogitationes de delectationibus carnis. Cuius ratio etiam secundum philosophorum doctrinam duplex assignari potest. Una quidem quia, cum talis delectatio sit homini connaturalis, et a iuventute connutrita, facile in ipsam appetitus fertur, cum eam cogitatio proponit. Unde philosophus dicit 2 Ethic. quod delectationem diiudicare non possumus de facili quin accipiamus eam. Secunda ratio est, quia, ut idem dicit in 3 Ethic., delectabilia in particulari sunt magis voluntaria quam in universali. Manifestum est autem quod per moram cogitationis ad particularia quaeque descendimus: unde per cogitationem diuturnam maxime libido provocatur: et propter hoc apostolus I ad Cor., VI, 18, dicit: fugite fornicationem: quia, ut Glossa ibidem dicit, cum aliis vitiis potest expectari conflictus; sed hanc fugite, ne approximetis, quia non aliter melius potest vinci. An obstacle to continence arises also from the mind, if we dwell on unchaste thoughts. The Lord says by His prophet, “Take away the evil of your devices from my eyes” (Isa. i. 16). For, evil thoughts often lead to evil deeds. Hence the Prophet Micah says (ii. 1), “Woe to you who devise that which is unprofitable,” and he immediately continues, “and work evil in your beds.” Amongst all evil thoughts, those which most powerfully incline unto sin, are thoughts concerning carnal gratification. Philosophers assign two reasons for this fact. First, they say, that as concupiscence is innate in man, and grows with him from youth upwards, he is easily carried away by it, when his imagination sets it before him. Hence Aristotle says (2 Ethics), that “we cannot easily judge of pleasure, unless we enjoy it.” The second reason is given by the same philosopher (3 Ethics), “Pleasure is more voluntary in particular cases than in general.” It is clear that by dallying with a thought we descend to particulars; hence, by daily thoughts we are incited to lust. On this account St. Paul (1 Cor. vi 18) warns us to “Flee from fornication”; for, as the Gloss says, “It is permissible to await a conflict with other vices; but this one must be shunned; for in no other means can it be overcome.” Contra igitur huiusmodi continentiae impedimentum multiplex remedium invenitur. Quorum primum et praecipuum est ut mens circa contemplationem divinorum et orationem occupetur; unde apostolus dicit ad Ephes. V, 18: nolite inebriari vino, in quo est luxuria; sed impleamini spiritu sancto, loquentes vobismet ipsis in Psalmis et hymnis et canticis spiritualibus: quod ad contemplationem pertinere videtur: cantantes et psallentes in cordibus vestris domino: quod ad orationem videtur pertinere. Hinc dominus per prophetam dicit, Isai. XLVIII, 9: laude mea infrenabo te, ne intereas. Est enim quoddam frenum animam ab interitu peccati retrahens laus divina. But, as there are many obstacles in the way of chastity, there are also many remedies against such obstacles. The first and chief remedy is to keep the mind busied in prayer and in the contemplation of Divine things. This lesson is taught us in St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (v. 18), wherein he says, “Be not drunk with wine wherein is luxury; but be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles” (which pertain to contemplation), “singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord” (whereby prayer is implied). Hence in Isaiah (xlviii. 9), the Lord says, “For by my praise I will bridle you, lest you should perish.”For the divine praise is, as it were, a bridle on the soul, checking it from sin. Secundum remedium est studium Scripturarum, secundum illud Hieronymi ad rusticum monachum: ama Scripturarum studia, et carnis vitia non amabis. Unde apostolus cum dixisset Timotheo, I Tim. IV 12: exemplum esto fidelium in verbo, in conversatione, in caritate, in fide, in castitate; statim subdit: dum venio, attende lectioni. The second remedy against lust is the study of the Scriptures. “Love the study of Holy Writ,” says St. Jerome to the monk Rusticus, “and you will not love the vices of the flesh.”’ And St. Paul in his exhortation to Timothy (1 Tim. iv. 12) says, Be an example of the faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity,” immediately adding, “Till I come, attend unto reading.” Tertium remedium est quibuscumque bonis cogitationibus animum occupare: unde Chrysostomus dicit super Matthaeum quod abscissio membri non ita comprimit tentationes et tranquillitatem facit, ut cogitationis frenum: unde apostolus ad Philipp. IV, 8, dicit: de cetero, fratres, quaecumque sunt vera, quaecumque pudica, quaecumque iusta, quaecumque sancta, quaecumque amabilia, quaecumque bonae famae; si qua virtus, si qua laus disciplinae, haec cogitate. The third preservative against concupiscence, is to occupy the mind with good thoughts. St. Chrysostom, in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew, says that, “physical mutilation is not such a curb to temptation, and such a source of peace to the mind, as is a habit of bridling the thoughts.” St. Paul also says to the Philippians (iv. 8), “For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.” Quartum remedium est ut homo ab otio desistens et in corporalibus laboribus se ipsum exerceat: dicitur enim Eccli. XXXIII, 29: multam malitiam docuit otiositas. Et specialiter otium est vitiorum carnalium incentivum: unde dicitur Ez. XVI, 49: haec fuit iniquitas Sodomae sororis tuae, superbia, saturitas panis et abundantia et otium ipsius. Et ideo Hieronymus ad rusticum monachum scribens dicit: fac aliquid operis, ut semper te Diabolus inveniat occupatum. The fourth help to chastity is to shun idleness, and to engage in bodily toil. We read in the book of Sirach (xxxiii. 29), “Idleness has taught much evil.” Idleness is pre-eminently an incentive to sins of the flesh. Hence Ezechiel says (xvi. 49), “Behold, this was the iniquity of Sodom your sister, pride, fulness of bread, abundance, and idleness.” St. Jerome likewise writes, in his letter to the monk Rusticus, “Do some work, that so the devil may always find you employed.” Quintum remedium adhibetur contra carnis concupiscentiam etiam per aliquas animi perturbationes: unde Hieronymus refert in eadem Epist., quod in quodam coenobio quidam adolescens nulla operis magnitudine flammam poterat carnis extinguere; eum periclitantem pater monasterii hac arte servavit. Imposito cuidam viro gravi ut iurgiis atque conviciis insectaretur hominem, et post irrogatam iniuriam primus veniret ad quaerimonias, vocati testes pro eo loquebantur qui contumeliam fecerat. Solus pater monasterii defensionem suam opponebat, ne abundanti tristitia frater absorberetur. Ita annus ductus est, quo expleto interrogatus adolescens super cogitationibus pristinis, respondit: Papae, vivere me non licet, et fornicari libet? A fifth remedy for concupiscence lies in certain kinds of mental disquietude. St. Jerome relates, in the epistle quoted above, that, in a congregation of cenobites there dwelt a young man who could not, by means of fasting or any laborious work, free himself from temptations of the flesh. The superior of the monastery, seeing that the youth was on the point of yielding, adopted the following means for his relief. He commanded one of the most discreet among the fathers to constantly upbraid the young man, to load him with insults and reproach, and, after treating him thus, to lodge complaints against him with the Superior. Witnesses were called, who all took the senior father’s part, This treatment was continued for a year. At the end of that time, the superior questioned the youth about his old train of thought. “Father,” was the reply, “I am scarcely permitted to live. How, in such straits, shall I be inclined to sin?” Ex parte autem exteriorum rerum propositum continentiae impeditur per aspectum et frequentia colloquia mulierum et earum consortia: unde dicitur Eccli. IX, 9: propter speciem mulieris multi perierunt: et ex hoc concupiscentia quasi ignis exardescit: et postea subditur: colloquium illius quasi ignis exardescit. Et ideo contra hoc est adhibendum remedium quod ibidem dicitur: ne respicias mulierem multivolam ne forte incidas in laqueos illius: cum saltatrice ne assiduus sis, nec audias illam, ne forte pereas in efficacia illius: et Eccli. XLII, 12, dicitur: omni homini noli intendere in specie, et in medio mulierum noli commorari. De vestimentis enim procedit tinea, et a muliere iniquitas viri. Unde Hieronymus contra Vigilantium scribens dicit, quod monachus sciens imbecillitatem suam, et vas fragile quod portat, timet offendere ne impingat et corruat, atque frangatur; unde et mulierum, et maxime adolescentularum, vitat aspectum, ne eum capiat oculus meretricis, ne forma pulcherrima ad illicitos ducat amplexus. A great obstacle to continence arises from extrinsic circumstances, such as constant intercourse with women. We read in Sirach (ix. 9), “Many have perished by the beauty of a woman, and hereby lust is enkindled as a fire..., for her conversation burns as fire.” And, in the same chapter, the following safeguard is proposed against these dangers: “Do not look upon a woman who has a mind for many, lest you fall into her snares. Do not frequent the company of a dancer, and do not listen to her lest you perish by the force of her charms.” Again (chapter xlii. 12), “Do not gaze on everybody’s beauty; and do not tarry among women. For from garments comes a moth, and from a woman the iniquity of a man.” St. Jerome, in his book against Vigilantius, writes that a monk, knowing his own frailty, and how fragile is the vessel which he carries, will fear to slip or stumble, lest he fall and be broken. Hence, he will chiefly avoid gazing at women, and especially at young ones, lest he be caught by the eyes of a harlot, and lest beauty of form lead him on to unlawful embraces. Ex quo patet quod, sicut abbas Moyses dicit in collationibus patrum, pro puritate cordis servanda, solitudo sectanda est, ac ieiuniorum inediam, vigilias, labores corporis, nuditatem, lectionem, ceterasque virtutes debere nos suscipere noverimus; ut scilicet per illas ab universis passionibus noxiis illaesum parare cor nostrum, et conservare possimus, et ad perfectionem caritatis istis gradibus innitendo conscendere. Ob hoc igitur in religionibus sunt huiusmodi opera instituta: non quia in ipsis principaliter consistat perfectio: sed quia his quasi quibusdam instrumentis ad perfectionem pervenitur. Unde post pauca ibidem subditur: igitur ieiunia, vigiliae, meditatio Scripturarum, nuditas ac privatio omnium facultatum, non perfectio, sed perfectionis instrumenta sunt; quia non in ipsis consistit disciplinae finis, sed per illa pervenitur ad finem. Abbot Moses, in his conferences to the fathers, says that, in order to preserve purity of heart, “we ought to seek solitude and to practise fasting, watching, and bodily labour: to wear scant clothing; and to attend to reading; in order, by these means, to be able to keep our heart uncontaminated by passion, and to ascend to a high degree of charity.” It is for this reason, that such exercises are practised in the religious life. Perfection does not consist in them; but they are, so to speak, instruments whereby perfection is acquired. Abbot Moses, therefore, continues, “Fasting, vigils, hunger, meditation on the scriptures, nakedness, and the privation of all possessions, are not themselves perfection; but they are the instruments of perfection. The end of discipline does not lie in them ; but, by their means we arrive at the end.” Si quis autem obiiciat, quod absque ieiunio, vigiliis et huiusmodi exercitiis potest homo perfectionem acquirere, praesertim cum de domino dicatur Matth. XI, 19: venit filius hominis manducans et bibens, suique discipuli non ieiunarent, quemadmodum discipuli Ioannis et Pharisaei; ad hoc respondetur in Glosa quod Ioannes vinum et siceram non bibit, quia abstinentia indiget cui nulla est potentia naturae. Deus autem, qui peccata potest condonare, cur a peccatoribus manducantibus declinaret, quos ieiunantibus poterat facere fortiores?. Discipuli ergo Christi non habebant opus ieiunio, quia praesentia sponsi illis fortitudinem dabat maiorem quam discipuli Ioannis per ieiunium haberent: unde dominus ibidem dicit: venient dies quando auferetur ab eis sponsus, et tunc ieiunabunt: quod exponens Chrysostomus dicit: ieiunium triste est non naturaliter, sed his qui sunt imbecillius dispositi; his enim qui sapientiam contemplari desiderant, delectabile est; quia ergo discipuli imbecilles erant, non erat tempus tristia introducendi quousque firmarentur: per quod monstratur quod non gulae erat quod fiebat, sed dispensationis cuiusdam. But, perchance, someone may object, that it is possible to acquire perfection without fasting or vigils or the like, for we read that “the Son of Man came eating and drinking” (Matt. xi. 19), nor did His disciples fast, as did the Pharisees, and the followers of St. John. To this argument we find in the Gloss the following answer: “John drank no wine nor strong drink; for abstinence increases merit, though nature has no power to do so. But, why should the Lord, to Whom it belongs to forgive sin, turn away from sinners who feast, when he is able to make them more righteous than those who fast?” The disciples and Christ had no need to fast; for the presence of the Bridegroom gave them more strength than the followers of John gained by fasting. Hence our Lord says (Matt. ix. 15), “But the days will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast.” St. Chrysostom makes the following comment on these words, “Fasting is not naturally grievous, save to those whose weakness is indisposed to it. They who desire to contemplate heavenly wisdom rejoice in fasting. Now, as when our Lord spoke the words we have just quoted, the disciples were still weak in virtue, it was not the fitting season to bring sadness upon them. It was more meet to wait until they were strengthened in faith. They were dispensed from fasting, not by reason of their gluttony, but by a certain privilege.” Quod autem huiusmodi exercitia expediant ad vitanda peccata et perfectionem consequendam, apostolus expresse ostendit II ad Cor. VI, 3, dicens: nemini dantes ullam offensionem, ut non vituperetur ministerium nostrum; sed in omnibus exhibeamus nosmet ipsos in multa patientia, in necessitatibus, in angustiis, in plagis, in carceribus, in seditionibus, in laboribus, in vigiliis, in ieiuniis, in castitate. St. Paul, however, writing to the Corinthians (2 Ep. vi. 3), expressly shows how fasting enables men to avoid sin, and to acquire perfection. He says, “Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed; but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distress, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity.”
De tertia perfectionis via quae est per abrenuntiationem propriae voluntatis
Of the Third Means of Perfection, Namely, the Abnegation of Our Own Will
Non solum autem necessarium est ad perfectionem caritatis consequendam, quod homo exteriora abiciat, sed etiam quodammodo se ipsum derelinquat. Dicit enim Dionysius, 4 cap. de divinis nominibus, quod divinus amor est extasim faciens, id est hominem extra se ipsum ponens, non sinens hominem sui ipsius esse, sed eius quod amatur: cuius rei exemplum in se ipso demonstravit apostolus dicens ad Gal. II, 20: vivo ego, iam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus, quasi suam vitam non suam aestimans, sed Christi: quia quod proprium sibi erat contemnens, totus Christo inhaerebat. Hoc etiam in quibusdam esse completum ostendit, cum dicit ad Col. III, 3: mortui estis, et vita vestra abscondita est cum Christo in Deo. Exhortatur etiam alios ut ad hoc perveniant, cum dicit II ad Cor. V, 15. Pro omnibus mortuus est Christus: ut et qui vivunt, iam non sibi vivant, sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est. Et ideo, ut habetur Luc. XIV, 26, postquam dixerat: si quis venit ad me et non odit patrem suum et matrem et uxorem et filios et fratres et sorores: tanquam aliquid maius addens subdit: adhuc autem et animam suam; non potest meus esse discipulus. Hoc etiam idem dominus docet Matth. XVI 24 dicens: si quis vult post me venire, abneget semet ipsum, et tollat crucem suam, et sequatur me. IT is not only necessary for the perfection of charity that a man should sacrifice his exterior possessions: he must also, in a certain sense, relinquish himself. Dionysius, in Chapter IV. De Divinis Nominibus, says that, “divine love causes a man to be out of himself, meaning thereby, that this love suffers him no longer to belong to himself but to Him whom he loves.”St. Paul, writing to the Galatians (ii. 20), illustrates this state by his own example, saying, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me,” as if he did not count his life as his own, but as belonging to Christ, and as if he spurned all that he possessed, in order to cleave to Him. He further shows that this state reaches perfection in certain souls; for he says to the Colossians (iii. 3), “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”Again, he exhorts others to the same sublimity of love, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians (v. 15), “And Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.” Therefore, when our Lord had said (Luke xiv. 26), “If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,” He added something greater than all these, saying, “yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” He teaches the same thing in the Gospel of St. Matthew (xvi. 24) when He says, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Huius autem salubris abnegationis et caritativi odii observatio partim quidem necessaria est ad salutem et omnibus qui salvantur communis; partim autem ad perfectionis pertinet complementum. Ut enim ex supraposita Dionysii auctoritate apparet, de ratione divini amoris est ut amans non sui ipsius remaneat, sed amati. Secundum ergo divini amoris gradum necesse est et odium et abnegationem praedictam distingui. Est autem necessarium ad salutem ut homo sic Deum diligat ut in eo finem suae intentionis ponat, nihilque admittat quod contrarium divinae dilectioni existat; et ideo consequenter et odium et abnegatio sui ipsius est de necessitate salutis, cum, ut Gregorius dicit in omelia, vitamus quod per vetustatem fuimus, et ad hoc nitimur quod per novitatem vocamur; et sic nosmet ipsos relinquimus et abnegamus. Et sicut in alia omelia dicit: tunc bene animam nostram odimus, cum eius carnalibus desideriis non acquiescimus, cum eius appetitum frangimus et eius voluptatibus reluctamur. This practice of salutary self-abnegation, and charitable self-hatred, is, in part, necessary for all men in order to salvation, and is, partly, a point of perfection. As we have already seen from the words of Dionysius quoted above, it is in the nature of divine love that he who loves should belong, not to himself, but, to the one beloved. It is necessary, therefore, that self-abnegation and self-hatred be proportionate to the degree of divine love existing in an individual soul. It is essential to salvation that a man should love God to such a degree, as to make Him his end, and to do nothing which be believes to be opposed to the Divine love. Consequently, self-hatred and self-denial are necessary for salvation. Hence St. Gregory says, in his Homily, “We relinquish and deny ourselves when we avoid what we were wont (through the old man dwelling in us) to be, and when we strive after that to which (by the new man) we are called.” In another Homily he, likewise, says, “We hate our own life when we do not condescend to carnal desires, but resist the appetites and pleasures of the flesh.” Ad perfectionem vero pertinet ut homo propter intentionem divini amoris etiam ea abiiciat quibus licite uti posset, ut per hoc liberius Deo vacet. Secundum hunc ergo modum etiam consequens est ut et odium et abnegatio sui ipsius ad perfectionem pertineat. Unde ex ipso modo loquendi apparet haec a domino proposita esse quasi ad perfectionem pertineant. Sicut enim dicit Matth. XIX, 21: si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes, non necessitatem imponens, sed voluntati relinquens: ita dicit: si quis vult post me venire, abneget semet ipsum. Quod Chrysostomus exponens dicit: non coactivum facit sermonem: non enim dicit: si vos volueritis et non volueritis, oportet hoc vos pati. Similiter cum dixisset: si quis venit ad me, et non odit patrem suum etc. postmodum subdit: quis enim ex vobis volens aedificare turrem, (non) computat sumptus qui necessarii sunt, si habeat ad perficiendum? Quod exponens Gregorius in Homil. dicit: quia sublimia praecepta data sunt, protinus comparatio aedificandae sublimitatis adiungitur; et post pauca dicit: istos sumptus dives ille habere non potuit qui, cum praecepta relinquendi omnia audisset, tristis abscessit. Ex quibus patet hoc ad perfectionis consilium secundum aliquem modum pertinere. But, in order to attain perfection, we must further, for the love of God, sacrifice what we might lawfully use, in order, thus to be more free to devote ourselves to Him. It follows, therefore, that self-hatred, and self-denial, pertain to perfection. We see that our Lord speaks of them as if they belonged to it. For, just as in the Gospel of St. Matthew (xix. 21) He says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor,” but does not lay any necessity on us to do so, leaving it to our own will, so He likewise says (Matt. xvi. 24), “if any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” St. Chrysostom thus explains these words, “Christ does not make his saying compulsory; He does not say, ‘whether you like it or not, you must bear these things.’” In the same manner, when He says: “If any man will come after Me and hate not his father” etc. (Luke xiv. 28), He immediately asks, “Which of you having a mind to build a tower, does not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether) he have enough to finish it?” St. Gregory in his Homily thus expounds these words, “The precepts which Christ gives are sublime, and, therefore, the comparison between them and the building of a high tower shortly follows them.” And he says again, “That young man could not have had enough to finish his tower who, when he heard the counsel to leave all things, went away sad.” We may hence understand, that these words of our Lord refer, in a certain manner, to a counsel of perfection. Hoc autem consilium perfectissime martyres impleverunt: de quibus Augustinus dicit in sermone de martyribus quod nulli tantum impendunt, quantum qui se ipsos impendunt. Martyres ergo sunt qui vitam praesentem propter Christum quodammodo odio habuerunt, abnegantes se ipsos: quia, ut Chrysostomus dicit super Matth., qui negat alium, vel fratrem, vel famulum, vel quemcumque, etsi flagellatum viderit et quaecumque patientem, non assistit, non adiuvat; ita vult corpori nostro nos non ignoscere; ut etsi flagellaverint, vel quodcumque aliud fecerint, corpori non parcamus. The martyrs carried out this counsel of perfection most perfectly. Of them St. Augustine says (in his sermon De martyribus, that “none sacrifice so much as those who sacrifice themselves.” The martyrs of Christ, denying themselves, did, in a certain manner, hate their lives, for the love of Christ. St. Chrysostom, again, says, writing on the Gospel of St. Matthew, “He who denies another, be it his brother, or his servant, or whomsoever it may be, will not assist him if he sees him suffering from the scourge or any other torture. And we, in like manner, ought to have so little regard for our body, that, if men should scourge, or in any other way maltreat, us, we ought not to spare ourselves.” Et ne aestimes quod usque ad verba tantum et contumelias oportet abnegare se ipsum; ostendit quod oportet abnegare se ipsum usque ad mortem etiam turpissimam, scilicet crucis; unde sequitur: et tollat crucem suam. Hoc autem perfectissimum ideo diximus, quia martyres illud propter Deum contemnunt, scilicet propriam vitam, propter quam omnia temporalia quaeruntur; et cuius conservatio, etiam cum omnium aliorum amissione, omnibus aliis praefertur. Magis enim homo vult et divitias perdere et amicos, adhuc autem corporis infirmitati succumbere, et in servitutem redigi, quam vita privari; unde hoc beneficium victis a victoribus praestatur, ut vitae parcentes conservent servituti subiectos. Unde Satan ad dominum dixit, ut legitur Iob II 4: pellem pro pelle, et cuncta quae habet homo, dabit pro anima sua, idest pro corporali vita servanda. Our Lord would not have us to think that we are to deny ourselves, only so far as to endure insults and hard words. He shows us that we are to deny ourselves unto death, even unto the shameful death of the cross. For He says: “Let him take up his cross and follow Me.” We, therefore, say that the martyrs did a most perfect work; for they renounced, for the love of God, life itself, which others hold so dear, that, for its sake, they are content to part with all temporal goods, and are willing to purchase it by any sacrifice whatsoever. For a man will prefer to lose friends and wealth, and to suffer sickness, or even slavery, rather than to be deprived of life. Conquerors will grant to their defeated foes the privilege of life, in order that they may keep them subject to them in slavery. Satan said to the Lord (Job ii. 4), “Skin for skin, and all that a man has he will give for life,” i.e. to preserve his body. Inter alia vero quanto aliquid magis naturaliter amatur, tanto perfectius contemnitur propter Christum. Nihil autem est homini amabilius libertate propriae voluntatis. Per hanc enim homo est et aliorum dominus, per hanc aliis uti vel frui potest, per hanc etiam suis actibus dominatur. Unde, sicut homo dimittens divitias, vel personas coniunctas, eas abnegat; ita deserens propriae voluntatis arbitrium, per quod ipse sui dominus est, se ipsum abnegare invenitur. Nihilque est quod homo naturali affectu magis refugiat quam servitutem: unde et nihil posset homo pro alio amplius impendere post hoc quod se ipsum in mortem pro eo traderet, quam quod se servituti eius subiugaret: unde, ut dicitur Tob. IX, 2, Tobias iunior dixit ad Angelum: si me ipsum tradam tibi servum, non ero condignus providentiae tuae. Now, the more dearly a thing is loved according to nature, the more perfect it is to despise it, for the sake of Christ. Nothing is dearer to any man than the freedom of his will, whereby he is lord of others, can use what he pleases, can enjoy what he wills, and is master of his own actions. Just, therefore, as a person who relinquishes his wealth, and leaves those to whom be is bound by natural ties, denies these things and persons; so, he who renounces his own will, which makes him master, does truly deny himself. Nothing is so repugnant to human nature as slavery; and, therefore, there is no greater sacrifice (except that of life), which one man can make for another, than to give himself up to bondage for the sake of, that other. Hence, the younger Tobias said to the angel (Tobias ix. 2), “if I should give myself to be your servant, I should not make a worthy return for your care.” Huius autem voluntatis libertatem aliqui sibi propter Deum particulariter adimunt, dum quodcumque particulare votum emittunt de quocunque faciendo vel non faciendo. Per votum enim necessitas quaedam voventi imponitur, ut id de cetero non liceat quod prius licebat; sed quadam necessitate constringitur ad reddendum quod vovit: unde in Psal. LXV, 15, dicitur: reddam tibi vota mea, quae distinxerunt labia mea; et Eccl. V 3 dicitur: si quid vovisti Deo, ne moreris reddere: displicet enim ei infidelis et stulta promissio. Some men deprive themselves, for the love of God, of some particular use of their free will, binding themselves by vow, to do, or not to do, some specific thing. A vow imposes a certain obligation on him that makes it; so that, for the future, he is not at liberty to do, or not to do, what was formerly permissible to him; for he is bound to accomplish his vow. Thus, we read in Ps. 1xv. 13, “I will pay you my vows which my lips have uttered,” and again (Eccles. v. 3), “If you have vowed anything to God, defer not to pay it; for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeases him.” Aliqui vero libertati propriae voluntatis totaliter abrenuntiant, se propter Deum aliis subiicientes per obedientiae votum. Cuius quidem obedientiae exemplum praecipuum in Christo habemus, de quo apostolus dicit Rom. V, 19: sicut per inobedientiam unius hominis peccatores constituti sunt multi, ita et per unius hominis obedientiam iusti constituentur multi. Quam quidem obedientiam apostolus manifestat ad Philipp. II, 8, dicens: humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem. Haec autem obedientia in abrenuntiatione propriae voluntatis consistit: unde ipse dicebat Matth. XXVI 39: mi pater, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste; verumtamen non sicut ego volo, sed sicut tu vis; et Ioan. VI, 38, dicit: descendi de caelo, non ut faciam voluntatem meam, sed voluntatem eius qui misit me. In quo nobis dedit exemplum, ut sicut ipse suam voluntatem humanam abnegabat supponendo eam divinae, ita et nos nostram voluntatem Deo totaliter supponamus, et hominibus qui nobis praeponuntur tanquam Dei ministri. Unde apostolus dicit ad Hebr. ult.: obedite praepositis vestris, et subiacete eis. Others there are, however, who make a complete sacrifice of their own will, for the love of God, submitting themselves to another by the vow of obedience, of which virtue Christ has given us a sublime example. For, as we read in the Epistle to the Romans (v. 19), “As by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just.” Now this obedience consists in the abnegation of our own will. Hence, our Lord said, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will but as you will” (Matt. xxvi. 39). Again He said (John vi. 38), “I came down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”By these words He shows us, that, as He renounced His own will, submitting it to the Divine will, so we ought wholly to subject our will to God, and to those whom He has set over us as His ministers. To quote the words of St. Paul, “obey your prelates and be subject to them “ (Heb. xiii. 17).
Quod tres praedictae perfectionis viae proprie ad statum religionis pertinent
The Three Means of Perfection, of Which We Have Hitherto Been Speaking, Belong, Peculiarly, to the Religious State
Secundum autem triplicem viam perfectionis assignatam, in religionibus triplex commune votum invenitur: scilicet votum paupertatis, continentiae, et obedientiae usque ad mortem. Per votum paupertatis primam perfectionis viam religiosi assumunt, omni proprietati abrenuntiantes; per votum autem continentiae aggrediuntur viam secundam, matrimonio perpetue abrenuntiantes; per votum autem obedientiae manifeste viam tertiam assumunt, voluntatem propriam abnegando. Hoc etiam triplex votum congrue religioni adaptatur. Nam, sicut Augustinus dicit 10 de Civit. Dei, religio non quemlibet, sed Dei cultum significare videtur. Unde et Tullius dicit in rhetorica, quod religio est: quae cuidam superiori naturae, quam divinam vocant, cultum caeremoniamque affert. WE find the three ways to perfection in religious life, embodied in the three vows of perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience. Religious follow the first road to perfection by the vow of poverty, whereby they renounce all property. By the vow of chastity, whereby they renounce marriage, they enter on the second road to perfection. They set forth on the third road to perfection, by the vow of obedience, whereby they sacrifice their own will. Now these three vows well beseem the religious life. For, as St. Augustine says (lib. x. de Civitate Dei), “The word religion means, not any sort of worship, but the worship of God.” And Tully says, in his Rhetorica, that “religion is a virtue, paying worship and reverence to a certain higher nature which men term the Divine nature.” Cultus autem soli Deo debitus in sacrificii oblatione ostenditur. Offertur autem Deo sacrificium de exterioribus rebus, quando eas aliquis propter Deum largitur, secundum illud Hebr. ult., 16: beneficentiae et communionis nolite oblivisci: talibus enim hostiis promeretur Deus. Offertur etiam Deo sacrificium de proprio corpore, dum scilicet qui Christi sunt, carnem suam crucifigunt cum vitiis et concupiscentiis, ut apostolus dicit ad Gal. V 24; unde et ipse dicit ad Rom. XII, 1: exhibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem. Est etiam sacrificium tertium Deo acceptissimum, quando aliquis spiritum suum offert Deo, secundum illud Psal. l, 19: sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus. Now the worship which is due to God alone, consists in the offering of sacrifice. Such sacrifices may consist in external things, when they are given for the love of God. Thus, St. Paul says, (Hebrews xiii. 3), “Do not forget to do good and to impart; for by such sacrifices God’s favour is obtained.” We also offer to God the sacrifice of our own bodies, when, as St. Paul says (Gal. v. 24), “we crucify the flesh with its vices and concupiscences,” or, when we obey, his exhortation to the Romans (xii. 1), “Present your bodies a living , sacrifice, holy, pleasing, unto God.” There is, again, a third and most agreeable sacrifice to God, spoken of in the 50th Psalm (v. 19), “a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit.” Sed sciendum, quod, sicut Gregorius super Ezechielem dicit, hoc inter sacrificium ac holocaustum distat, quod omne holocaustum sacrificium est, et non omne sacrificium holocaustum. In sacrificio enim pars pecudis, in holocausto vero totum pecus offerri consueverat. Cum ergo aliquis suum aliquid Deo vovet, et aliquid non vovet, sacrificium est. Cum vero omne quod habet, omne quod vivit, omne quod sapit, omnipotenti Deo voverit, holocaustum est. Quod quidem impletur per tria vota praedicta. Unde manifestum est, eos qui huiusmodi vota Deo emittunt, quasi propter holocausti excellentiam antonomastice religiosos vocari. The difference, says St. Gregory, in his Commentary on Ezechiel, between a sacrifice and a holocaust is, that, whereas every holocaust is a sacrifice, every sacrifice is not a holocaust, In a sacrifice a part of the victim was immolated; but in a holocaust the entire offering was consumed.” When, therefore, a man vows one thing to God, and does not vow another, he offers a sacrifice. When, however, he dedicates to the Almighty all that he has, all that he takes pleasure in, and his entire life, he is offering a holocaust.” This he does, most perfectly, by the three religious vows. Hence, it is clear that the name of religious is strictly applied, according to the very meaning of the word, to those who pay their vows as a holocaust to God. Per sacrificii autem oblationem secundum legis mandatum pro peccatis satisfacere oportet, ut in Levitico expresse iubetur. Unde Psal. IV, cum dixisset: quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, et in cubilibus vestris compungimini, statim de satisfactione subdens dixit: sacrificate sacrificium iustitiae; idest, opera facite iusta post poenitentiae lamentum, ut Glosa exponit. Sicut ergo holocaustum est perfectum sacrificium, ita per vota praemissa perfecte homo Deo satisfacit, cui et de exterioribus rebus, et de proprio corpore, et de proprio spiritu holocaustum offert. Ex quo patet quod religionis status non solum perfectionem caritatis, sed etiam perfectionem poenitentiae continet; intantum quod nulla sunt peccata tam gravia pro quibus homini possit imponi pro satisfactione religionis assumptio, quasi religionis statu omnem satisfactionem transcendente. Unde, ut habetur 33, quaest. 2 c. admonet, Astulpho, qui uxorem occiderat, consulitur ut monasterium ingrediatur quasi melius et levius: alioquin ei durissimam poenitentiam iniungit. According to the Levitical law the offering of sacrifice was ordained for the atonement of sin. Again, in Psalm Iv., immediately after the verse, “the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds,” we read, “offer up the sacrifice of justice,” that is to say (as the Gloss explains), “perform works of justice after your lamentations of penitence.” Since, then, a holocaust is a perfect sacrifice, a man who makes the religious vows, (thereby offering, of his own will, a holocaust to God), makes perfect satisfaction for his sins. Hence we see, that the religious life, is not only the perfection of charity, but likewise the perfection of penitence, since, however heinous may be the sins committed by a man, he cannot be enjoined, as a penance for them, to go into religion; for the religious state transcends all satisfaction. We see (in Gratian, 33, Quest. II. cap. Admonere, that Astulplus, who had killed his wife, was advised to go into a monastery as the easiest and best course to pursue; for, if he remained in the world, a very severe penance would be imposed upon him. Inter haec autem tria quae ad religionis statum diximus pertinere, praecipuum est obedientiae votum: quod quidem multipliciter apparet. Primo quidem, quia per obedientiae votum homo Deo propriam voluntatem offert; per votum autem continentiae offert ei sacrificium de proprio corpore; per votum autem paupertatis de exterioribus rebus. Sicut ergo inter hominis bona corpus praefertur exterioribus rebus, et anima corpori; ita votum continentiae voto paupertatis praefertur, votum autem obedientiae utrique. Secundo quia per propriam voluntatem homo et exterioribus rebus utitur et proprio corpore. Sic igitur qui propriam voluntatem dat, totum dedisse videtur. Universalius igitur est obedientiae votum quam continentiae et paupertatis; et quodammodo includit utrumque. Hinc est quod Samuel obedientiam omnibus sacrificiis praefert, dicens I Reg. XV, 22: melior est obedientia quam victimae. The vow which, of all the three religious vows, belongs most peculiarly to the religious life, is that of obedience. This is clear for several reasons. First, because, by obedience man sacrifices to God his own will; by chastity, on the other hand, he offers his body, and by poverty his external possessions. Now, since the body is worth more than material goods the vow of chastity is superior in merit to that of poverty, but the vow of obedience is of more value than either of the other two. Secondly, because it is by his own will that a man makes use either of his body or his goods: therefore, he who sacrifices his own will, sacrifices everything else that he has. Again, the vow of obedience is more universal than is that of either poverty or chastity, and hence it includes them both. This is the reason why Samuel preferred obedience to all other offerings and sacrifices, saying, “Obedience is better than sacrifices” (1 Kings xv. 22).
Contra errorem eorum qui diminuere meritum obedientiae vel voti praesumunt
Refutation of the Errors of Those Who Presume to Detract From the Merit of Obedience, Or of Vows
Humanae autem perfectioni Diabolus invidens, diversos vaniloquos et seditionis magistros suscitavit qui praedictas perfectionis vias impugnarent. Primam enim perfectionis viam Vigilantius impugnavit: contra quem Hieronymus loquens dicit: quod autem asserit, eos melius facere qui utuntur rebus suis et paulatim fructus possessionum dividunt, non a me eis, sed a Deo respondetur: si vis esse perfectus, vade et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus; et veni, sequere me. Ad eum loquitur qui vult esse perfectus, qui cum apostolis patrem, naviculam et rete dimittit. Iste quem tu laudas, secundus aut tertius gradus est: quem et nos recipimus, dummodo sciamus prima secundis et tertiis praeferenda. Et ideo ad excludendum hunc errorem dicitur in Lib. de ecclesiasticis dogmatibus: bonum est facultates cum dispensatione pauperibus erogare: melius est pro intentione sequendi dominum, insimul omnia donare, et absolutum solicitudine egere cum Christo. SATAN, in his jealousy of human perfection, has raised up several foolish and misleading men, who, by their teaching, have shown themselves hostile to the different modes of perfection of which we have been speaking. Vigilantius attacked the first counsel of perfection. St. Jerome thus combats his objections to it: “Some men hold that they act more virtuously who keep the use of their fortune, and divide the fruit of their possessions piecemeal among the poor, than they do who sell their goods, and, at once, give all they possess to the poor. The fallacy of this assertion is proved not by my words but by those of the Lord Himself, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and come follow me.” Christ is here speaking to one who desires to be perfect, and who, with the Apostles, leaves father, ship, and net. The man who is praised for retaining the use of his possessions, is in the second or third degree of perfection; and we know that the first degree is preferable to either the second or the third.” Hence, in order to exclude error on this point, we find in the book, De ecclesiasticis dogmatibus the following words: “It is good to distribute one’s goods prudently among the poor; but it is better if it be done with the intention of following the Lord, to give them all away at once, and, in our dealings with Christ, to be free from all earthly solicitude.” Secundam perfectionis viam impugnavit Iovinianus, matrimonium virginitati adaequans: cuius errorem b. Hieronymus evidentissime confutat in libro quem contra eum scripsit: de quo etiam errore Augustinus in libro Retractationum sic dicit: Ioviniani haeresis, sacrarum virginum meritum aequando pudicitiae coniugali, tantum valuit in urbe Roma ut nonnullas etiam sanctimoniales, de quarum impudicitia suspicio nulla praecesserat, deiecisse in nuptias diceretur. Huic monstro sancta Ecclesia per omnia fidelissime ac fortissime restitit. Unde in Lib. de ecclesiasticis dogmaticis (dicitur): sacratae Deo virginitati nuptias coaequare, aut pro amore castigandi corporis abstinentibus a vino vel carnibus nihil credere meriti accrescere, non est Christiani, sed Ioviniani. Jovinian argued against the second counsel of perfection, and declared that marriage was equal in merit to virginity. St. Jerome refuted his opinions, in the book which he wrote against him. St. Augustine, likewise, thus speaks of his error, in his book Retractationum: “The heresy of Jovinian asserted that the merit of consecrated virgins was equalled by conjugal chastity. Hence, it is said that in Rome, certain nuns who had not hitherto been suspected of immorality, contracted marriage. Our holy mother the Church has always stoutly resisted this error. In the book De ecclesiasticis dogmatibus we find the following declaration: “It is not Christian but Jovinian to set virginity on a level with matrimony, or to deny an increase of merit to those who, for the sake of mortifying the flesh, refrain from wine or flesh meat.” His autem antiquis insidiis Diabolus non contentus, nostris temporibus quosdam dicitur incitasse, votum obedientiae ac alia vota communiter impugnantes, dicendo laudabilius esse bona opera virtutum facere sine voto vel obedientia, quam si ad haec facienda homo per votum vel obedientiam constringatur. Quorum aliqui dicuntur in tantam vesaniam prosilire, quod asserant votum quod aliquis emisit de religione intranda, posse praetermitti absque detrimento salutis. Hunc autem errorem quibusdam vanis et frivolis rationibus confirmare dicuntur. Dicunt enim, quod tanto aliquid est laudabilius et magis meritorium, quanto est magis voluntarium. Sed quanto aliquid est magis necessarium tanto videtur minus voluntarium. Laudabilius ergo et magis meritorium esse videtur quod aliquis opera virtutum exerceat proprio arbitrio, absque necessitate voti vel obedientiae, quam quod ex voto vel obedientia facere hoc compellatur. Dicuntur etiam ad hoc inducere quod prosper dicit in 2 Lib. de vita contemplativa: sic quidem, inquit, abstinere vel ieiunare debemus, ut non nos necessitati ieiunandi subdamus ne iam non devoti, sed inviti rem voluntariam faciamus. Possent etiam ad hoc inducere quod apostolus dicit II ad Cor. IX, 7: unusquisque prout destinavit in corde suo, non ex tristitia aut ex necessitate: hilarem enim datorem diligit Deus. But the devil is not content with these old devices. Even in our own days he has stirred up some men to declaim against the vow of obedience and all other vows, and to preach that good works are more meritorious when performed without obedience or vow, than when executed under such obligations. Others, again, say that a vow made to enter religion may, without danger to salvation, be broken, and they strive to confirm their opinion by frivolous and empty arguments. For they contend that an act is meritorious in proportion as it is voluntary, and that, if such an act be less voluntary in proportion as it is more necessary, good works done at a man’s pleasure, without the constraint of obedience or vow of any kind, are worth more than such as are performed under the obligation of a vow, either of obedience or of some other nature. They quote in support of their teaching the words of Prosper (Book II. De vita contemplativa), “We ought to fast and abstain, not as though forced by necessity, lest by acting reluctantly we should be called unwilling rather than devout,” They might also bring forward the words of St. Paul (2 Cor. ix. 7), “Every one as he has determined in his heart, not with sadness or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Oportet ergo manifeste ostendere et hoc falsum esse quod dicunt, et eorum frivolas rationes elidere. Ad ostendendum autem huius erroris falsitatem, primo assumendum est quod in Psal. dicitur: vovete, et reddite domino Deo vestro: ubi dicit Glossa: notandum, quod alia sunt communia vota Dei, scilicet sine quibus non est salus, ut vovere fidem in Baptismo et huiusmodi: quae etiam si non promittimus, solvere debemus: et de his praecipitur omnibus: vovete et reddite. Alia sunt vota propria singulorum, ut castitas, virginitas et huiusmodi. Ad haec ergo vovenda nos invitat: non praecipit ut voveamus, sed ut vota reddamus. Vovere enim voluntati consulitur; sed post voti emissionem redditio exigitur necessario. We must now show the fallacy of these arguments, and confute this foolish reasoning. First, in order to manifest the error of these arguments we will quote the Gloss on the verse of Ps. lxxv. 12, “Vow and pay to the Lord your God.” “We must observe,” says the Gloss, “that some vows made to God are common to all men, and are necessary to salvation: such are our Baptismal promises and the like, which we should be bound to keep, even if we had not made them. The verse, ‘Vow and pay,’ alludes to such vows as these, and is addressed to all men. There are also other vows made by individuals, such as chastity, virginity, and the like. The Psalmist invites us, but does not command us, to make such vows as these, and to pay them when we have made them. For the emission of a vow is a decision of the will; but the payment of such a vow is a decided necessity.” Votum ergo quoddam est in praecepto, quoddam in consilio. Ex utroque autem ex necessitate concluditur, quod melius est aliquod bonum facere ex voto quam sine voto. Manifestum est enim quod ad ea quae sunt de necessitate salutis, omnes tenentur ex Dei praecepto; nec est fas aestimare aliquod Dei praeceptum in vacuum dari. Finis autem cuiuslibet praecepti est caritas, ut apostolus dicit I ad Tim. I 5; frustra ergo daretur aliquod praeceptum de aliquo faciendo, si non magis ad caritatem pertineret illud facere quam non facere. Datur autem praeceptum non solum de credendo vel de non furando, sed etiam ut hoc voveamus; credere igitur ex voto, et abstinere a furto ex voto, et cetera huiusmodi, magis ad caritatem pertinent quam si sine voto fiant. Quod autem magis ad caritatem pertinet, magis est laudabile et meritorium: magis ergo est laudabile et meritorium facere aliquid ex voto quam sine voto. Rursus, non solum consilium datur de virginitate vel castitate servanda, sed etiam de vovendo, ut patet ex Glossa inducta; sed consilium non datur nisi de meliori bono, ut supra dictum est. Melius est ergo servare virginitatem cum voto quam sine voto: et simile est in aliis. Hence a vow is, in one sense, a matter partly of counsel, and, in another sense, a matter of precept. But, from whichever point of view we consider it, we shall see plainly that good works performed under vow, are more meritorious than those executed without a vow. For, it is clear, that, in all that is necessary for salvation, all men are bound by the precept of God; neither would it be Tight to think that God would give a command without a purpose. For, as St. Paul says (1 Tim. i. 5), “Now the end of the Commandment is charity.” In vain, then, would God have given a commandment concerning the performance of anything, if the execution of such a thing had not tended more towards the increase of charity than its omission would have done. Now we are not only bidden by precept to believe, and forbidden to steal, but, further, we are commanded to make a vow to believe and to abstain from theft. Therefore, believing on account of our vow, and abstention from theft on the same account, tend more to augment charity than would be the case if we had no vow. Again, the more anything increases charity, the more it is praiseworthy and meritorious. Hence it is more praiseworthy and meritorious to perform any work under vow, than without such an obligation. Once more, the counsel is given to us not only to preserve virginity or chastity, but (as the Gloss points out) to make a vow to do so. But since, as we have said, a counsel is only given concerning that which is the greater good, it must be better to observe chastity under a vow than without one. The same argument holds good concerning the other counsels. Item. Inter alia bona opera maxime observatio virginitatis commendari solet: ad quam dominus invitat, dicens Matth. XIX, 12: qui potest capere, capiat. Sed ipsa virginitas ex voto commendabilis redditur: dicit enim Augustinus in Lib. de virginitate: neque virginitas, quia virginitas est, sed quia Deo dicata est, honoratur: quam vovet et servat continentia pietatis: et infra: nec nos in virginibus praedicamus quod virgines sunt, sed quod Deo dicatae pia continentia virgines. Multo igitur magis alia opera laudabiliora redduntur ex hoc quod per votum Deo dicantur. Now, amongst other good works virginity meets with special commendation. our Lord speaking of it says, “He who can take it, let him take it” (Matt. xix. 12). It is, however, the vow of virginity which renders that state so praiseworthy. St. Augustine says, in his book, De virginitate, “Virginity is honourable, not because it is virginity, but because it is consecrated to God, and because it vows to Him, and preserves for Him, the continence of piety.” And, again, he says, “We do not praise virgins because they are virgins, but because they are consecrated to God by the holy continence of virginity.” Hence we see, that the fact of their being performed under a vow, renders good works the more meritorious. Item, quodlibet bonum finitum cum enumeratione alterius boni melius est. Nulli autem dubium esse potest quin ipsa promissio boni sit aliquod bonum; nam et qui homini aliquid promittit, aliquod bonum ei iam videtur impendere: unde et quibus aliquid promittitur, gratias agunt. Votum autem est quaedam promissio Deo facta, ut patet per id quod dicitur Eccl. V, 3: si quid vovisti Deo, ne moreris reddere: displicet enim ei infidelis et stulta promissio. Melius est igitur facere aliquid et vovere, quam facere simpliciter absque voto. Again, every finite good acquires additional value by bearing a promise of some other good. There is no doubt that the promise of good is in itself a good. Hence, when one man makes a promise to another, he is considered to confer some advantage upon him; and he to whom the promise is made returns thanks. Now a vow, is a promise made to God, as we see from Ecclesiastes (v. 3), “If you have vowed anything to God, defer not to pay it; for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeases him.” It is better, therefore, to make a vow and to perform it, than simply to execute a good work without being bound thereto by vow. Adhuc. Quanto aliquis plus dat alicui, tanto maius aliquid ab eo meretur. Qui autem facit aliquid sine voto, dat ei solum quod facit propter eius amorem; qui autem non solum facit, sed etiam vovet, non solum dat ei quod facit, sed etiam potentiam qua facit: facit enim se non posse quin faciat quod prius non facere licite poterat. Maius igitur aliquid meretur apud Deum qui ex voto aliquid facit, quam qui idem facit sine voto. Again, the more one person gives to another, the more he deserves from that other. Now, he that does a good work without a vow, offers to God only that single act which he performs for love of him: he, on the contrary, who not only accomplishes a good work, but also makes a vow to perform it, gives to God not only that which he does, but also the power whereby he does it. For he puts it out of his power not to do such a good work; although, before making his vow, he might legitimately have omitted it. Hence he merits far more from God who acts under vow, than be who is not under any obligation. Amplius. Ad laudem boni operis pertinet quod voluntas firmetur in bono; sicut ad aggravationem culpae pertinet quod voluntas sit obstinata in malo. Manifestum est autem quod qui aliquid vovet, voluntatem suam firmat ad id quod vovet; et sic cum implet quod voverat, opus suum ex voluntate firmata procedit. Sicut igitur ad aggravationem culpae pertinet quod ex proposito firmato aliquis malum operetur, hoc enim est ex malitia peccare; ita ad augmentum meriti pertinet quod aliquis bonum opus operetur ex voto. Once more, the merit of a good work is increased in proportion as the will is confirmed in good, just as the heinousness of sin is aggravated in proportion to the obstinate malice of the will. Now it is evident, that he who makes a vow, confirms his will to accomplish that which he promises; and that when he accomplishes the good work which he has vowed to do, its consummation proceeds from the strength which his will has acquired. Just as the gravity of a crime proceeds from the fact that he who commits it acts from a determined purpose, or, as is usually said, sins out of malice; so the merit of any good work is enhanced by the fact that it is done under a vow. Item. Quanto aliquis actus ab excellentiori virtute progreditur, tanto laudabilior est; cum tota laus operis ex virtute sit. Contingit autem quandoque actum inferioris virtutis a superiori virtute imperari; puta cum aliquis actum iustitiae ex caritate facit. Multo igitur melius est opus virtutis inferioris facere ex imperio superioris virtutis, sicut melius est opus iustitiae, si ex caritate fiat. Manifestum est autem quod particularia bona opera quae facimus, pertinent ad aliquas inferiores virtutes; puta ieiunare, ad abstinentiam; continere, ad castitatem; et sic de aliis. Vovere autem est proprie latriae actus: quam nulli dubium esse debet esse potiorem vel abstinentia vel castitate, vel quacumque huiusmodi virtute: maius est enim colere Deum quam recte se habere erga proximum aut se ipsum. Opus igitur aut abstinentiae vel castitatis vel cuiuscumque talium virtutum, quae sunt infra latriam, laudabilius est, si ex voto fiant. Again, the more excellent the virtue from which any action proceeds, the more meritorious does that action become, since an action derives all its merit from the virtue which inspires it. Now, it may sometimes happen that an action of inferior virtue may have its origin in a superior virtue. For example we might do an act of justice from a motive of charity. Hence, it is far best to perform acts of inferior virtue from motives of superior virtue; just as an. act of justice is enhanced in value, if it be performed out of charity. Now, we know, that,, the particular good works that we accomplish proceed from inferior virtues; fasting, for instance, is an act of abstemiousness; continence proceeds from chastity, and so of the rest. But, on the other hand, a vow is, strictly speaking, an act of latria, which, undoubtedly, is a higher virtue than abstemiousness, chastity, or any other virtue. For it is more meritorious to worship God, than to order ourselves rightly, towards, either our neighbour or ourselves. Hence chastity, abstemiousness, or any other virtue, inferior to latria, derives additional value if it be performed under a vow. Huic etiam suffragatur pium Ecclesiae studium, quae homines ad vovendum invitans, et voventibus ire in subsidium terrae sanctae vel alias in defensionem Ecclesiae, indulgentias et privilegia largitur. Non autem incitaret ad vovendum, si melius esset bona opera facere sine voto: hoc enim esset contra exhortationem apostoli dicentis I Cor. XII, 31: aemulamini charismata meliora. Unde, si melius esset bona opera facere sine voto, non invitaret ad vovendum, sed etiam a vovendo retraheret vel prohibendo, vel etiam dissuadendo. Similiter etiam cum Ecclesiae intentio sit homines fideles ad meliorem statum reducere; omnes a votis factis absolveret, ut sic eorum bona opera laudabiliora existerent. Patet igitur huiusmodi positionem repugnare ei quod communiter Ecclesia tenet et sentit: unde est tamquam haeretica reprobanda. This opinion is supported by the pious desire of the Church which invites men to make a vow to go to the Holy Land, or elsewhere, in her defence, and grants indulgences and other privileges to such as make this vow. She would certainly not invite the faithful to bind themselves by vow, were good works, done without such obligation, more meritorious than those done under vow. Did she act thus, she would be disobeying the exhortation of St. Paul (1 Cor. xii. 31), “Be zealous for the better gifts.” If the good works done without a vow were the most praiseworthy, the Church, far from encouraging her children to bind themselves by vow, would withhold them from so doing, either by prohibition or dissuasion; and, as it is her desire that the faithful should be in the most meritorious state, she would absolve them all from their vows, in order, as far as possible, to enhance the merit of their good works. Hence, the opinion that vows detract from the value of good works, is repugnant to the spirit of the Church, and must be rejected as heretical. Ad ea vero quae pro se obiiciunt, facile est multipliciter respondere. Primo enim quod dicunt, quod opus bonum ex voto factum est minus voluntarium, non est universaliter et in omnibus verum. Multi enim sunt qui ea quae voverunt, tam prompta voluntate faciunt, ut etiam si non vovissent, non solum facerent, sed voverent. Secundo, detur quod aliquod bonum opus quod quis ex voto vel obedientia facit, simpliciter consideratum sit ei non voluntarium, sed tamen solum facit hoc ex necessitate voti vel obedientiae, quam non vult praeterire: adhuc dum hoc facit, laudabilius operatur et magis meritorie quam si prompta voluntate illud faceret sine voto. Etsi enim non habeat voluntatem promptam illud faciendi, puta ieiunandi; habet tamen voluntatem promptam votum implendi, vel obediendi: quod est multo laudabilius et magis meritorium quam ieiunare: unde plus meretur quam ille qui sua voluntate ieiunat: tantoque voluntas votum implendi aut obediendi promptior iudicatur, quanto id quod aliquis facit propter obedientiam vel votum, magis in se consideratum voluntati repugnat. Unde Hieronymus ad rusticum monachum dicit: per haec omnia ad illud tendit oratio, ut doceam te non tuo arbitrio dimittendum: et post pauca: non facias quod vis, comedas quod iuberis, habeas quantum acceperis, vestiaris quod datur, operis tui pensam persolvas, subiciaris cui non vis, lassus ad stratum venias, ambulansque dormites, et necdum expleto somno surgere compellaris. All the arguments alleged in favour of this opinion, may be easily answered. First, the proposition, that a good work performed under vow, is less voluntary than one done without an obligation, is by no means universally true. For many persons perform what they have vowed to do, so promptly, that even had they not already made vows, they would not only have done those same good works, but they would have also vowed to do them. Secondly, granted that a deed performed under vow, or under obedience, be in a sense involuntary, nevertheless, he who accomplishes such a deed, does so from the necessity of his vow or of obedience, which he has no desire to violate. Hence he acts in a more praiseworthy and meritorious manner, than if he were performing a good work at his own pleasure and without a vow. And, even if he have not a will to do some particular thing (e.g. to fast), he, nevertheless, desires to accomplish his vow, or to practise obedience, which is much more meritorious than fasting. Hence, he who fasts out of obedience performs a more acceptable work than he who fasts by his own desire. And the will to fulfil a vow, or to practise obedience, is held to be so much the more perfect in proportion as the deed accomplished for the sake of obedience, or of keeping a vow, is repugnant to nature. Hence St. Jerome says to Rusticus, “My principal exhortation to you is, not to be guided by your own judgment.” Then he adds, “Nor should you act according to your own will; but you shall eat as you are bidden; you shall have as much as is given you; you shall wear the raiment appointed you; you shall perform the whole task allotted to you; you shall be subject to him to whom you would rather not submit; you shall go weary to bed; you shall fall asleep on your feet and shall be forced to rise before you have slumbered your fill.” Ex quo patet quod ad meritum boni operis pertinet, ut aliquis ea quae propter seipsa non vellet, propter Deum faciat aut patiatur: quia tanto invenitur voluntas promptior divini amoris, quanto magis ea quae propter ipsum facimus aut patimur, nostrae voluntati repugnant. Unde martyres maxime commendantur, quanto plura sustinuerunt propter Dei amorem contra voluntatem humanam: unde II Machab. VI, 30, Eleazarus dum torqueretur dixit: diros corporis sustineo dolores; secundum animam vero propter timorem tuum libenter haec patior. The passage just cited shows us, that the merit of a good work consists in a man doing or suffering something for the love of God, which is contrary to his own will. For, alacrity of will, and fervour of divine love, are chiefly shown when that which we do for God is repugnant to our own inclinations. The martyrs are commended inasmuch as, for the love of God, they endured many things repugnant to nature. Hence, when Eleazar was tortured he said, “I suffer grievous pains in body: but in soul I am well content to suffer these things because I fear you.” Tertio detur quod etiam aliquis nec ipsam voluntatem retineat votum servandi aut obediendi: manifestum est quod cum Deus iudex sit cordium, apud Deum talis habetur quasi voti fractor, aut obedientiae praevaricator. Si tamen impleat quod vovit, vel quod ei praecipitur, solo humano timore, vel pudore, non est ei meritorium apud Deum, quia non facit voluntate Deo placendi, sed humana necessitate coactus. Nec tamen inutiliter vovit, si ex caritate vovit: nam plus meruit in vovendo quam alius simpliciter ieiunando: quod meritum ei reservatur, si de praevaricatione cordis poeniteat. Per hoc etiam patet responsio ad auctoritates inductas, quae loquuntur de necessitate humana, cum aliquis scilicet ex pudore vel timore humano facit quod iuravit aut vovit; non autem loquuntur de necessitate quae est ex fine dilectionis divinae; puta, cum aliquis facit vel patitur ea quae alias nollet, ut impleat voluntatem divinam. Et hoc patet ex verbis apostoli, qui dicit II ad Cor. IX, 7: non ex tristitia aut necessitate; tristitiam enim necessitas humana inducit, necessitas autem dilectionis divinae tristitiam tollit vel minuit. It is argued, that a man may not perchance retain the will to fulfil his vow, or to practise obedience; but God, as we know, judges the heart, and will hold such an one unfaithful to his vow and to obedience. If a man perform what he has vowed, or obey an order, solely out of motives of fear or human respect he gains no merit before God; for he acts, not from a desire to please Him, but solely under compulsion. Nevertheless, his vow, if it were made out of charity, is not unprofitable to him; for he has merited more by making it, than others have done by fasting without any vow. Moreover, the merit of his vow remains to him if he repent of the infidelity of his heart. This is our answer to the authorities adduced. They apply to the cases wherein men keep their vows under the compulsion of human motives, such as fear, or shame; but they do not speak of the necessity whereby men are constrained, from motives of Divine love, to do or suffer what is naturally repugnant to them, in order thereby to fulfil the will of God. This is made clear by the words of St. Paul, “Not with sadness or of necessity “(2 Cor. ix. 7). For human necessity induces sadness; whereas the constraining of divine love dissipates, or lessens it. Patet etiam hoc ex verbis Prosperi dicentis: ne non devoti, sed inviti rem voluntariam faciamus; non enim necessitas quae ex divina dilectione procedit, minuit devotionem, sed auget. Et quod talis necessitas sit laudanda et appetenda, patet per hoc quod Augustinus dicit in epistola ad Armentarium et Paulinam: quia iam vovisti, iam te obstrinxisti, aliud tibi facere non licet. Priusquam esses voti reus, liberum fuit quod esses inferior: quamvis non sit gratulanda libertas, qua fit ut non debeatur quod cum lucro redditur. Nunc vero quia tenetur apud Deum sponsio tua, non te ad magnam iustitiam invito (scilicet ad continentiam quam iam voverat, ut per superiora apparet), sed a magna iniquitate deterreo. Non enim talis eris, si non feceris quod vovisti, qualis mansisses, si nihil tale vovisses: minor enim tunc esses, non peior; modo autem tanto (quod absit) miserior, si fidem Deo fregeris, quanto beatior, si persolveris. Nec ideo te vovisse poeniteat; immo gaude iam tibi non sic licere quod cum tuo detrimento licuisset. Aggredere itaque intrepidus, et dicta imple factis; ipse adiuvabit qui vota tua expetit. Felix est necessitas quae in meliora compellit. Patet etiam ex his verbis erroneum esse quod dicunt, quod aliquis non tenetur de implendo votum de religione intranda. We may, in support of what we have said, quote the words of Prosper. “Lest we should act not devoutly but unwillingly. For the necessity which proceeds from divine love does not diminish love, but increases it.” And St. Augustine, in his epistle (127) to Armentarius and Paulina, shows that this necessity is desirable and praiseworthy. “Since,” he says, “you now have bound yourself, it is not lawful for you to act otherwise. Before you were under a vow, you were free to do as you wouldst: now, however, you art subject to your vow. Nevertheless, liberty is not a matter of congratulation, since it renders man debtor for what he cannot repay with money. But now that your promise is made to God, I do not invite you to great justice (i.e. to the chastity which you have vowed), but I warn you against great iniquity. For, if you do not perform what you have vowed, you will not remain as you were before your vow. Before your vow you were lower than at present, not worse; now, if (which God forbid) you break your faith with Him, you will be as much the more accursed as you will be blessed if you dost keep your vow. Repent not of your promise to God; but rather rejoice that now it is no longer lawful for you to do that which formerly, to your detriment, was permissible to you. Act firmly and fulfil in deed what you have promised by word. He will help you who asks for your vows. Blessed necessity which constrains us to better things.” From these words we see, how erroneous is the doctrine, that persons are not bound to keep a vow that they may have made to go into religion.
De perfectione dilectionis proximi necessaria ad salutem
The Perfection of Brotherly Love Which is Necessary for Salvation
His autem consideratis de perfectione caritatis quantum pertinet ad dilectionem Dei, considerandum relinquitur de perfectione caritatis quantum ad dilectionem proximi. Est autem considerandus multiplex gradus perfectionis circa dilectionem proximi, sicut et circa dilectionem Dei. Est enim quaedam perfectio quae requiritur ad salutem, quae cadit sub necessitate praecepti: est etiam quaedam ulterior perfectio superabundans, quae sub consilio cadit. Perfectio autem dilectionis proximi necessaria ad salutem consideranda est ex ipso modo diligendi, qui nobis praescribitur in praecepto de proximi dilectione, cum dicitur: diliges proximum tuum sicut te ipsum. Quia enim Deus est universale bonum supra nos existens, ad perfectionem dilectionis divinae requirebatur ut totum cor hominis secundum aliquem modum converteretur in Deum, sicut ex supra dictis patet. Et ideo modus divinae dilectionis convenienter exprimitur per hoc quod dicitur: diliges dominum Deum tuum in toto corde tuo. Proximus autem noster non est universale bonum supra nos existens, sed particulare infra nos constitutum: et ideo non determinatur nobis modus ut aliquis proximum diligat toto corde, sed sicut se ipsum. Ex hoc autem modo tria circa dilectionem proximi consequuntur. WE may fittingly conclude these considerations about the perfection of charity, as it regards God, with some reflections touching perfect charity as it concerns our neighbour. There are several degrees of perfect love of our neighbour, just as there are several degrees of perfect love of God. There is a certain perfection of this virtue which is a matter of precept, and which is necessary to salvation. There is, further, a supererogatory perfection, which is a matter of counsel. The perfection of brotherly love necessary to salvation, is of the nature prescribed by the precept, “Thou shall love your neighbour as your self.”As God is the universal Good, existing above us, it is necessary, as we have before said, for the perfection of divine love that the whole heart should be, in a certain sense, turned to God. This degree of divine love is expressed by the precept, “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart.” But our neighbour is not the universal good existing above ourselves; he is a particular good beneath us. Therefore, we are not bidden to love him with our whole heart, but as ourselves. Three consequences follow from this proposition. Primo quidem ut sit vera dilectio: cum enim de ratione dilectionis sive amoris hoc esse videatur ut aliquis bonum velit ei quem amat; manifestum est quod motus amoris sive dilectionis in duo tendit: scilicet in eum cui aliquis vult bonum, et in bonum quod optat eidem. Et quamvis utrumque amari dicatur, tamen illud vere amatur cui aliquis bonum optat. Bonum vero quod quis optat alicui, quasi per accidens dicitur amari, prout ex consequenti sub actu amoris cadit. Inconveniens enim est dicere, quod illud proprie ac vere ametur cuius destructionem aliquis optat. Multa autem sunt bona quae dum in nostrum usum vertimus, consumuntur; sicut vinum, dum bibitur, et equus dum exponitur pugnae: unde manifestum est quod dum res aliquas in nostrum usum vertere cupimus, vere quidem et proprie nos ipsos amamus; res autem illas per accidens, et quasi abusive amari a nobis dicuntur. First, our love must be sincere. It is in the nature of love to wish well to the object beloved. Hence, love tends towards two things: to the one to whom we are wishing well, and to the good which we desire for him. And, although both these things are said to be loved, that object is truly loved to which we wish some good. For the good which we wish to another person is only loved per accidens, because it falls within the limits of the act of love. Now it is incorrect to say that we really and sincerely love an object which we desire to destroy; and as many of the things which we use are destroyed, we only love such things per accidens. For instance, we consume wine in drinking, we expose a horse to death in battle; in such cases, we are truly loving ourselves and are only loving these other things per accidens, on account of the use which they are to us. Manifestum est autem quod unusquisque naturaliter sic vere se amat, ut sibi ipsi bona optet, puta felicitatem, virtutem, scientiam, et quae ad sustentationem vitae requiruntur. Quaecumque vero aliquis in suum usum assumit, non vere illa amat sed magis se ipsum. Sicut autem alias res assumimus in nostrum usum, ita etiam et homines ipsos. Si igitur proximos eo tantum modo diligamus inquantum in nostrum usum venire possunt, manifestum est quod eos non vere diligimus, nec sicut nos ipsos: et hoc quidem apparet in amicitia utilis et delectabilis. Qui enim amat aliquem quia est ad suam utilitatem vel delectationem, se ipsum amare convincitur cui ex altero delectabile vel utile bonum quaerit, non illum ex quo quaerit: nisi sicut dicitur amari vinum vel equus, quae non diligimus sicut nos ipsos, ut eis bona optemus, sed magis ut ipsa bona existentia nobis cupiamus. It is clear, likewise, that every man does, by nature, love himself truly, in so far as to wish benefits to himself, happiness, for instance, virtue, knowledge, and the necessaries of life. But those things of which he avails himself he does not truly love in themselves; rather, he loves the service they render him, and he prefers himself to them. Now this proposition is as true with regard to persons, as it is with regard to things. We love some men only because they are of use to us; and when this is the case, it is evident that we do not truly love them as we love ourselves. He that loves another because he is of service- to him, or affords him gratification, proves that he loves himself. As he seeks only convenience and profit from his friend and not his friend himself, he can only be said to love his friend in the sense in which we are said to love wine or horses, i.e. not as ourselves by wishing well to them, but rather as valuing them as an advantage to ourselves. Primo ergo ex hoc quod praecipitur quod homo proximum tanquam se ipsum diligat, dilectionis veritas demonstratur, quam necesse est caritati adesse. Procedit enim caritas de corde bono et conscientia pura et fide non ficta, ut apostolus dicit I Tim. I 5. Et ideo, ut ipse dicit I ad Cor. XIII 5, caritas non quaerit quae sua sunt, sed optat bona eis quos amat. Et huius rei se ipsum exemplum dat cum dicit I Cor. X, 33: non quaerens quod mihi utile est, sed quod multis, ut salvi fiant. It is not difficult to prove, that sincerity is necessary to perfect charity. We see this, first, from the precept which bids us to love our neighhour as ourselves. “The end of the commandment is charity from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith,” says St. Paul (1 Tim. i. 5). Again he says, “Charity does not seek her own” (1 Cor. xiii. 5), but wishes well to those whom she loves. He gives his own example, as a lesson of charity, “not seeking that which is profitable to myself, but to many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor. x. 33). Secundo ex praedeterminato modo nobis indicitur ut dilectio proximi sit iusta et recta. Est enim iusta et recta dilectio, cum maius bonum minori bono praeponitur. Manifestum est autem quod inter omnia humana bona bonum animae praecipuum locum tenet; post hoc autem ordinatur bonum corporis; ultimum autem est bonum quod consistit in exterioribus rebus. Unde et hunc ordinem diligendi se ipsum, videmus homini naturaliter inditum. Nullus enim est qui non mallet se corporis oculo privari quam usu rationis, quae est oculus mentis. Rursusque pro vita corporali tuenda vel conservanda, homo omnia bona exteriora largitur, secundum illud Iob II, 4, pellem pro pelle, et cuncta quae habet homo, dabit pro anima sua. Et hic quidem naturalis ordo dilectionis sui ipsius in paucis vel nullis deficit quantum ad naturalia bona, de quibus exemplum posuimus. Sed inveniuntur nonnulli qui quantum ad superaddita hunc ordinem dilectionis pervertunt; sicut cum propter salutem vel delectationem corporis, bonum virtutis aut scientiae multi abiiciunt: rursusque propter exteriora bona conquirenda, corpus suum periculis et laboribus immoderatis exponunt: quorum non est recta dilectio; immo, ut amplius dicam, nec vere isti se ipsos diligere comprobantur. Hoc enim maxime videtur esse unumquodque quod est in ipso praecipuum: unde et civitatem aliquid facere dicimus, quod faciunt principes civitatis. Manifestum est autem quod praecipuum in homine est anima; et inter animae partes ratio sive intellectus. Qui ergo bonum rationalis animae contemnit, inhaerens bonis corporis vel animae sensitivae, manifestum est quod non vere se ipsum diligit; unde et in Psalmo dicitur: qui diligit iniquitatem, odit animam suam. Secondly, the way in which we are commanded to love our neighbour, viz. “as ourselves,” proves that our charity ought to be rightly ordered and sincere. For true and rightly ordered love prefers the greater to the lesser good. Now it is clear, that, of all human good, the welfare of the soul is the greatest: next in degree comes physical well-being; and external goods occupy the last place. It is natural to man to observe this order in his preference. For who would not rather lose bodily eyesight than the use of reason? Who would not part with all his property in order to save his life? “Skin for skin,” said Satan to the Lord, “and all that a man has he will give for his life” (Job ii. 4). Very few, if any, fail to observe this order in their preference concerning the natural goods of which we have given examples. There are, nevertheless, many who pervert this order of charity, in the case of the other goods which exist in addition to the purely natural ones of which we have spoken. They will, for instance, prefer physical health or comfort, to the acquisition of virtue or learning; and they will expose their bodies to danger and hardship, in order to gain material wealth. Now this, as we shall show more at large, is not true love. Neither do they who act thus, love themselves sincerely. It is quite clear that the chief part of a thing is really the thing itself. When we say that a city acted thus or thus, we mean that the chief citizens acted in such or such a manner. Now we know, that the principal thing in man is the soul, and that the chief among the powers or faculties of the soul, is the reason or understanding. He, therefore, who despises the good of the rational soul, for the sake of physical welfare, or of the advantage of the sensitive soul, plainly show that he does not truly love himself. “He who loves iniquity, hates his own soul” (Pa. x. 6). Sic igitur rectitudo circa dilectionem proximi instituitur, cum praecipitur alicui quod proximum diligat sicut se ipsum; ut scilicet eo ordine bona proximis optet quo sibi optare debet: praecipue quidem spiritualia bona, deinde bona corporis, et quae in exterioribus rebus consistunt. Si quis vero proximo bona exteriora optet contra salutem corporis, aut bona corporis contra salutem animae, non eum diligit sicut se ipsum. Now we are commanded to observe the same order in the love of our neighbour that we ought to observe in the love of ourselves. Hence we must desire his welfare in the same manner as we ought to desire our own, i.e. first his spiritual good, secondly his physical prosperity, including in the latter category such good as consists in extrinsic possessions. But, if we wish our neighbour to have material goods harmful to his health of body, or physical welfare opposed to his spiritual profit, we do not truly love him. Tertio vero ex praedicto modo praecipitur ut sit sancta proximi dilectio. Dicitur enim aliquid sanctum ex eo quod ordinatur ad Deum: unde et altare sanctum dicitur quasi Deo dicatum, et alia huiusmodi quae divino ministerio mancipantur. Quod autem aliquis alium diligat sicut se ipsum, ex hoc contingit quod communionem aliquam ad invicem habent: inquantum enim aliqua duo simul conveniunt, considerantur quasi unum; et sic unum eorum se habet ad alterum sicut ad se ipsum. Contingit autem aliquos duos multipliciter convenire. Conveniunt enim aliqui naturali convenientia secundum generationem carnalem, puta quia ex eisdem parentibus oriuntur; alii vero conveniunt convenientia quadam civili, puta quia sunt eiusdem civitatis municipes sub eodem principe et eisdem legibus gubernantur; et secundum unumquodque officium vel negotium aliqua convenientia vel communicatio invenitur, sicut qui sunt socii in negotiando vel militando, vel fabrili artificio, aut in quocumque huiusmodi. Et huiusmodi quidem proximorum dilectiones honestae quidem et rectae possunt esse, sed non ex hoc sanctae dicuntur; sed solum ex hoc quod dilectio proximi ordinatur in Deum: We see, thirdly, from the precept concerning charity, that our love of our neighbour must be holy. That is called holy which is directed to God. An altar, and the other things used in the sacred ministry, are holy, because they are dedicated to His service. Now, when one man loves another as himself, there must be intercommunion between them; and, in so far as the two persons are united together, they are considered as forming one; and the one behaves to the other as to himself. There are, however, several ways in which two persons may be joined together. They may be joined by ties of blood, i.e. by being born of the same parents. They may be joined by certain social ties—they may be fellow-citizens, under the same ruler and the same laws. Or, they may be joined by certain professional or commercial bonds—they may be fellow-workmen, or fellow-soldiers. Now the neighbourly love which may exist between men, united by these various bonds, may be just and seemly, but it cannot, on that account, be called holy. For love can only be called holy in so far as it is directed to God. sicut enim homines qui sunt unius civitatis consortes, in hoc conveniunt quod uni subduntur principi, cuius legibus gubernantur; ita et omnes homines, inquantum naturaliter in beatitudinem tendunt, habent quandam generalem convenientiam in ordine ad Deum sicut ad summum omnium principem et beatitudinis fontem, et totius iustitiae legislatorem. Considerandum est autem, quod bonum commune secundum rectam rationem est bono proprio praeferendum: unde unaquaeque pars naturali quodam instinctu ordinatur ad bonum totius. Cuius signum est, quod aliquis percussioni manum exponit, ut cor vel caput conservet, ex quibus totius hominis vita dependet. In praedicta autem communitate qua omnes homines conveniunt in beatitudinis fine, unusquisque homo ut pars quaedam consideratur: bonum autem commune totius est ipse Deus, in quo omnium beatitudo consistit. Sic igitur secundum rectam rationem et naturae instinctum unusquisque se ipsum in Deum ordinat, sicut pars ordinatur ad bonum totius: quod quidem per caritatem perficitur, qua homo se ipsum propter Deum amat. Cum igitur aliquis etiam proximum propter Deum amat, diligit eum sicut se ipsum, et per hoc dilectio ipsa sancta efficitur; unde dicitur I Ioan. IV, 21: hoc mandatum habemus a Deo, ut qui diligit Deum, diligat et fratrem suum. Fellow-citizens agree in being subject to the same ruler whose laws they obey; and all men, inasmuch as they naturally aspire to happiness, are united in their inclinations towards God, the Beginning of all things, the Source of happiness, and the Principle of justice. But, we must remember, that, in the right order, the general is preferable to the particular good. A part is, by a natural instinct governed by the good of the whole. The hand, for example, is exposed to danger in order to shield the head or heart, the source of life. Now, in the communion, whereof we have been speaking, and in which all men are united by their natural tendency towards happiness, each individual must be considered as a part, and God, in whom the happiness of all consists, must be regarded as the universal Good of the whole. Hence, according to right reason and natural instinct, each man orders himself towards God, as a part is ordered to the whole; and this order is made perfect by charity, whereby man loves himself for God’s sake. Now, when he also loves his neighbour for God’s sake, he loves him as himself; and his love thus becomes holy. This is plainly expressed by St. John, in the following words: “This commandment we have from God that he who loves God, should also love his brother” (1 John iv. 21). Quarto ex praedicto modo dilectionis instruimur ut proximi dilectio sit efficax et operosa. Manifestum est enim quod unusquisque sic se ipsum diligit ut non solum velit sibi ipsi bonum advenire et malum abesse, sed unusquisque pro viribus bona sibi procurat et mala repellit. Tunc ergo homo proximum diligit sicut se ipsum, quando non solum affectum ad proximum habet quo ei bona cupit, sed etiam effectum ostendit opere adimplendo: unde I Ioan. III 18 dicitur: non diligamus verbo neque lingua, sed opere et veritate. The precept to love our neighbour as ourselves teaches us, fourthly, that our love of our neighbour must be practical and fruitful. Men love themselves, not only by wishing good to befall them, and by desiring protection from-evil; but also, by endeavouring, by all means in their power, to procure prosperity for themselves, and to defend themselves from adversity. Hence, when a man truly loves another as himself, he will show his love not only by good wishes, but by practical benefits. He will obey the teaching of St. John (1 Jn. iii. 18), “My little children, let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
De perfectione dilectionis proximi, quae cadit sub consilio
The Perfection of Love of Our Neighbour Considered As A Matter of Counsel
Consideratis igitur quibus dilectio proximi perficitur perfectione necessaria ad salutem, considerandum est de perfectione dilectionis proximi quae communem perfectionem excedit, et sub consilio cadit. Haec autem perfectio secundum tria attenditur. Primo quidem secundum extensionem. Quanto enim ad plures dilectio extenditur, tanto videtur dilectio proximi esse magis perfecta. WE devoted the last chapter to the consideration of the perfection of brotherly love, as exhibited in the degree necessary to salvation. We will now treat of the same virtue, as manifested in a degree exceeding common perfection, and thus forming a matter of counsel. This perfection of fraternal charity may be regarded from a triple point of view. First we may consider its comprehensiveness; for love is perfect in proportion to the number of persons whom it includes. In hac autem dilectionis extensione triplex gradus considerandus occurrit. Sunt enim quidam qui alios homines diligunt vel propter beneficia sibi impensa, vel propter naturalis cognationis vinculum, aut civilis; et iste dilectionis gradus terminis civilis amicitiae coartatur, unde dominus dicit Matth. V, 46: si diligitis eos qui vos diligunt, quam mercedem habebitis? Nonne et publicani hoc faciunt? Et si salutaveritis fratres vestros tantum, quid amplius facietis? Nonne et ethnici hoc faciunt? Sunt autem alii qui dilectionis affectum etiam ad extraneos extendunt, dum tamen in eis non inveniatur aliquid quod eis adversetur: et hic quidem dilectionis gradus quodammodo sub naturae limitibus coarctatur; quia enim omnes homines conveniunt in natura speciei, omnis homo est naturaliter omni homini amicus. Et hoc manifeste ostenditur in hoc quod homo alium errantem in via dirigit, et a casu sublevat, et alios huiusmodi dilectionis effectus impendit. Sed quia homo naturaliter se ipsum magis quam alium diligit; ex eadem autem radice procedit ut aliquid diligatur et eius contrarium odio habeatur; consequens est ut infra naturalis dilectionis limites inimicorum dilectio non comprehendatur. Tertius autem dilectionis gradus est ut dilectio proximi etiam ad inimicos extendatur: quem quidem dilectionis gradum dominus docet Matth. V, 44, dicens: diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite eis qui oderunt vos; et in hoc perfectionem dilectionis esse demonstrat: unde concludit subdens: estote ergo perfecti sicut et pater vester caelestis perfectus est. Now there are three degrees in the comprehensiveness of charity. Some men love their neighbours, either on account of the benefits they receive from them, or by reason of some tie of blood or of social life. This love is bounded by the limits of human friendship, and of it our Lord says, “It you love those who love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? Do not even the heathens this?” (Matt. v. 46). Others, again, include strangers in their charity, as long as they meet with nothing in these strangers antipathetic to themselves. This degree of charity is limited by natural feeling; for as all men form one species, each individual man is by nature the friend of all others. Thus, it is natural to us to put one who has lost his way on the right road, to help a man who has fallen down, and to perform similar kindly offices. As, however, we naturally prefer ourselves to others, it follows, that we shall love one thing and hate what is opposed to it. Therefore a merely natural love never includes the love of our enemies. But the third degree of charity is the love extended even to our enemies. Speaking of this love, our Lord says (Matt. v. 44), “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”He shows that this love constitutes the perfection of charity, by concluding His instruction with the words, “Be, therefore, perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” Quod autem hoc sit ultra perfectionem communem, patet per Augustinum in Enchiridio, qui dicit, quod perfectorum sunt ista filiorum Dei; quo quidem se debet omnis fidelis extendere, et humanum animum ad hunc affectum orando Deum secumque luctando perducere. Tamen hoc tam magnum bonum tantae multitudinis non est quantam credimus exaudiri, cum in oratione dicitur: dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. The fact that this perfection is beyond ordinary perfection, appears in the words of St. Augustine (Enchirid.), “These things belong to the perfect among the sons of God. Nevertheless, all the faithful ought to strive to fulfil them; and by prayer and self-conquest the soul of man ought to be brought to these sentiments. But this sublime virtue is not found in the generality of mankind, although we believe that the prayer: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us,’ is heard by God.” Hic tamen considerandum videtur: quod cum nomine proximi omnis homo intelligatur; in hoc autem quod dicitur: diliges proximum tuum sicut te ipsum, nulla fiat exceptio; videtur ad necessitatem praecepti pertinere quod etiam inimici diligantur. Sed hoc de facili solvitur, si hoc quod supra dictum est de perfectione divini amoris, ad memoriam revocetur. Dictum est enim supra, quod in hoc quod dicitur, diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, potest intelligi quod est de necessitate praecepti, et quod est de perfectione consilii, et ulterius de perfectione comprehensoris. Si enim sic intelligatur: diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo ut semper cor hominis feratur actu in Deum, hoc pertinet ad perfectionem comprehensoris. Si autem sic intelligatur, ut cor hominis nihil acceptet quod sit divinae dilectioni contrarium; sic est de necessitate praecepti. Quod vero homo etiam ea abiiciat quibus licite uti potest ut liberius Deo vacet, hoc est de perfectione consilii. Sic igitur et hic dicendum est, quod de necessitate praecepti est ut a communitate dilectionis qua quis proximos tenetur diligere, inimicum non excludat, nec aliquid contrarium huius dilectionis in corde suo recipiat. But, as by the term “our neighbour” all men are understood; and as no exception is made in the precept of loving our neighbour as ourselves; it may be thought, that the love of our enemies is commanded as necessary to salvation. This difficulty is easily solved, if we call to mind what has been said about the perfection of Divine love. The precept, “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart,” etc., may be understood as a matter either of precept, to be obeyed as a necessity, or as a counsel, or as perfection attained only by the Blessed in Heaven. If the command, “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart” be understood to mean that man’s heart is to be always actually fixed on God, it can only be obeyed by the Blessed in Heaven. If it be taken as signifying that man is not. to admit anything into his heart contrary to Divine love, it is, in this sense, a precept which must of necessity be obeyed. If, again, we understand by these words, the renunciation of all things for the sake of greater freedom in communion with God, it is a counsel of perfection. In the same way we may say that it is a precept not to exclude even our enemies from the universal love of our neighbour enjoined upon us, nor to admit within our heart anything opposed to this love. Sed quod actu feratur mens hominis in dilectionem inimici, etiam cum non adest necessitas, pertinet ad perfectionem consilii. In casu enim alicuius necessitatis etiam in speciali actu inimicos diligere et eis benefacere tenemur ex necessitate praecepti, puta si fame moreretur, vel in alio huiusmodi articulo esset; extra hos autem necessitatis articulos inimicis specialem affectum et effectum impendere ex necessitate praecepti non tenemur; cum nec etiam teneamur ex necessitate praecepti hoc in speciali omnibus exhibere. Huiusmodi autem inimicorum dilectio directe ex sola divina dilectione derivatur. In aliis enim dilectionibus movet ad diligendum aliquod aliud bonum, puta vel beneficium exhibitum, vel communio sanguinis, vel unitas civitatis, aut aliquid huiusmodi. Sed ad diligendum inimicos nihil movere potest nisi solus Deus. Diliguntur enim in quantum sunt Dei, quasi ad eius imaginem facti, et ipsius capaces. Et quia Deum omnibus aliis bonis caritas praefert; considerat cuiuscumque boni detrimentum quod ab hostibus patitur, ad hoc quod eos odiat; sed magis considerat divinum bonum, ut eos diligat. Unde, quanto perfectius viget in homine caritas Dei, tanto facilius animus eius flectitur ut diligat inimicum. But to love our enemies with an actual love when there is no necessity for so doing, is a counsel of perfection. Of course it is necessary for salvation to love our enemies by doing them actual service and assisting them, if they be in any extremity, if, for example, they be dying of hunger. The precept of brotherly love does not ‘ however, bind us to show any special affection nor to do any particular service to our enemies, unless they be in the extreme distress of which we have spoken; neither are we bound by precept to do any special service to any other of our neighbours. Love of our enemies springs, directly and purely, from love of God; whereas our love for other men arises from divers motives, e.g., from gratitude, from kinship, from fellow-citizenship, and the like. But nothing save the love of God can make us love our enemies; for we love them because they are His creatures, made in His image, and capable of enjoying Him. And, as charity prefers God before all other good, the consideration of the Divine Good which inclines it to love its enemies, outweighs the consideration of any injury received from them which would incline our nature to hate them. Thus, in proportion to the love of God in a man’s soul, will be his readiness to love his enemies. De perfectione dilectionis proximi quantum ad intensionem. Consideratur autem secundo perfectio dilectionis proximi secundum intensionem amoris. Manifestum est enim quod quanto aliquid intensius amatur, tanto facilius alia propter ipsum contemnuntur. Ex his ergo quae homo propter dilectionem proximi contemnit, considerari potest an sit perfecta dilectio proximi. Huius autem perfectionis triplex gradus invenitur. Sunt enim aliqui qui exteriora bona contemnunt propter proximorum dilectionem, dum vel ea particulariter proximis administrant, vel totaliter omnia necessitatibus erogant proximorum: quod videtur apostolus tangere cum dicit, I Cor. XIII, 3: si tradidero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas; et Cant. VIII 7 dicitur: si dederit homo omnem substantiam domus suae pro dilectione, quasi nihil despiciet illam. Unde et dominus hoc comprehendere videtur, dum consilium de perfectione sectanda cuidam daret, dicens Matth. XIX, 21: si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus; et veni, sequere me; ubi omnium bonorum exteriorum abdicationem ad duo videtur ordinare: scilicet ad dilectionem proximi, cum dicit, et da pauperibus; et ad dilectionem Dei, cum dicit, sequere me. Ad idem etiam pertinet, si quis damnum in exterioribus rebus pati non recuset propter dilectionem Dei vel proximi: unde apostolus commendat quosdam, dicens ad Hebr. X, 34: rapinam bonorum vestrorum cum gaudio suscepistis; et Prov. XII, 26, dicitur: qui negligit damnum propter amicum, iustus est. Ab hoc autem dilectionis gradu deficiunt qui de bonis quae habent, proximis necessitatem habentibus subvenire non curant: unde dicitur I Ioan. III, 17: qui habuerit substantiam mundi huius, et viderit fratrem suum necessitatem patientem, et clauserit viscera sua ab eo; quomodo caritas Dei manet in eo?. The perfection of brotherly love depends, secondly, upon its intensity. We know that the more intensely a man loves one object, the more easily will he for its sake despise other things. Hence the perfection of his love for his neighbour, may be gauged by what he sacrifices on his neighbour’s account. Some men, in their love of others, will give up their material possessions, either dispensing them to their neighbours at their discretion, or relinquishing them entirely, in order to supply the necessities of other men. St. Paul seems to refer to this form of charity in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (xiii. 3), where he says, “If I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor.” In the book of Canticles, also, we are told that, “If a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing” (Cant. viii. 7). our Lord includes this in the counsel of perfection, which He gave when He said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you hast, and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and come follow me” (Matt. xix. 2 1). In this passage the sacrifice of material possession seems to be recommended for two ends. The words, “give to the poor,” point to love of our neighbour; the other words, “follow Me,” indicate love of God. But a man fulfils the same end, whether he suffers the loss of his material goods for the love of God, or for the sake of his neighbour. St. Paul commends the charity of the Hebrews in these words, “You took with joy the being stripped of your own goods” (Heb. x. 34). In the Book of Proverbs (xii. 26) we are told also that, “He who neglects a loss for the sake of a friend is just.” St. John says in like manner (1 Ep. iii. 17), “He who has the substance of this world and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his bowels from him, how does the charity of God abide in him?” Secundus autem gradus dilectionis est ut aliquis corpus suum laboribus exponat propter proximorum amorem: cuius rei exemplum apostolus in se ipso ostendit, cum dicit, II Thess. III, 8: in labore et fatigatione nocte et die operantes, ne quem vestrum gravaremus. Et in idem refertur, si quis tribulationes et persecutiones propter proximorum amorem pati non recuset: unde et apostolus dicit, II Cor. I, 6: sive tribulamur, pro vestra exhortatione et salute: et II Tim. II, 9, dicit: laboro usque ad vincula quasi male operans; sed verbum Dei non est alligatum: ideo omnia sustineo propter electos, ut et ipsi salutem consequantur. Ab hoc autem gradu deficiunt qui de suis deliciis nihil omitterent, aut aliquid incommodi sustinerent pro aliorum amore: contra quos dicitur Amos VI, 4: qui dormitis in lectis eburneis, et lascivitis in stratis vestris: qui comeditis agnum de grege, et vitulos de medio armenti: qui canitis ad vocem Psalterii, sicut David, putaverunt se habere vasa cantici, bibentes in phialis vinum, et optimo unguento delibuti, et nihil patiebantur super contritione Ioseph. Et Ez. XIII, 5, dicitur: non ascendistis ex adverso, neque opposuistis vos murum pro domo Israel, ut staretis in praelio in die domini. The second degree of love of our neighbour, consists in exposing ourselves to physical hardships for his sake. St. Paul gives us an example of this kind of charity when he says, “In labour and toil we worked day and night, lest we should be chargeable to any of you” (2 Thess. iii. 8). This second degree of charity also includes a willingness to bear suffering and persecution for the love of our neighbour. St. Paul mentions this charity in the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians (i. 6), “Whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation,” and also in his Epistle to Timothy, “Wherein I labour even unto bands as an evil doer; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things, for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation” (2 Tim. ii. 9). Those fail to attain to this degree of charity who will deprive themselves of no luxury, and submit to no inconvenience for the sake of others. It is to such men as these that Amos (vi. 4) addresses the following words: “You that sleep upon beds of ivory, and are wanton on your couches: you that eat the lambs out of the Rock, and the calves out of the midst of the herd; you that sing to the sound of the psaltery: they have thought themselves to have instruments of music like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the best ointments; and they are not concerned for the affliction of Joseph.” And Ezechiel also says (xiii. 5), “You have not gone up to face the enemy, nor have you set up a wall for the house of Israel, to stand in battle in the day of the Lord.” Tertius autem gradus dilectionis est ut aliquis animam suam pro fratribus ponat: unde dicitur I Ioan. III, 16: in hoc cognovimus caritatem Dei quoniam ille pro nobis animam suam posuit, et nos debemus pro fratribus animas ponere. Ultra hunc autem gradum dilectio intendi non potest; dicit enim dominus Ioan. XV, 13: maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis: unde in hoc perfectio fraternae dilectionis constituitur. The third degree of charity consists in sacrificing our life for another. St. John (1 Jn iii. 16) says, “In this we have known the charity of God, because He has laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Our Lord Himself declares that, “Greater love than this has no man, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John xv. 13). Hence it is in this sacrifice of life that the perfection of charity consists. Pertinent autem ad animam duo. Unum quidem secundum quod vivificatur a Deo; et quantum ad hoc homo pro fratribus animam ponere non debet. Tantum enim quis diligit vitam animae, quantum diligit Deum; plus autem debet unusquisque Deum diligere quam proximum: non ergo debet aliquis peccando vitam animae suae contemnere, ut proximum salvet. Aliud autem consideratur in anima secundum quod vivificat corpus, et est principium vitae humanae; et secundum hoc pro fratribus animam ponere debemus. Plus enim debemus proximum diligere quam corpora nostra. Unde vitam corporalem pro salute spirituali proximorum ponere convenit, et cadit sub necessitate praecepti in necessitatis articulo; puta, si aliquis videret aliquem ab infidelibus seduci, deberet se mortis periculo exponere, ut eum a seductione liberaret. Sed ut aliquis extra hos necessitatis casus pro salute aliorum mortis periculis se exponat, pertinet ad perfectionem iustitiae, vel ad perfectionem consilii: cuius exemplum ab apostolo accipere possumus, qui dicit II Cor. XII, 15: ego autem libentissime impendam, et superimpendam ipse pro animabus vestris: ubi dicit Glossa: perfecta caritas est ut quis paratus sit etiam pro fratribus mori. Habet autem quandam mortis similitudinem conditio servitutis; unde et mors civilis dicitur. Vita enim in hoc maxime manifestatur quod aliquid movet se ipsum; quod autem non potest moveri nisi ab alio, quasi mortuum esse videtur. Manifestum est autem quod servus non a se ipso movetur, sed per imperium domini. Unde in quantum homo servituti subiicitur, quandam mortis similitudinem habet. The word “life “may be understood, however, in two senses. There is the spiritual life whereby God Himself animates the soul. We may not sacrifice this life. For our love of our soul is proportionate to our love of God; and we ought to love God more than we love our neighbour. Therefore, we may not, in order to save another, injure our own soul by sin. We have also the physical life which animates our body. This life we ought to lay down for the brethren. For, it is our duty to prefer our neighbour to our body; and therefore it is right to sacrifice our physical life for the spiritual welfare of others. We are bound by precept to act thus if we see our neighbour exposed to any extreme spiritual danger. Thus, if we were to see another seduced from the Faith by unbelievers, we should be bound to expose ourselves to death if, thereby, we could save him from such ruin. But it pertains to the perfection of justice, and is a matter of counsel, to sacrifice life for the salvation of those who are not in grave spiritual necessity. St. Paul teaches us to do so by his own example, for he says, “But I, most gladly will spend and be spent myself for your souls” (2 Cor. xii. 15). On this passage the Gloss remarks, “It is perfect charity to be prepared to die for the brethren.”The state of slavery does in some sort resemble death, and is therefore called civil death. For life is chiefly manifested in ability to move; he that cannot move save by the agency of others, may be accounted dead. Now, a slave has no power over himself, but is governed by the will of his master; and therefore this condition of bondage may be compared to death. Hence a man, who, for the love of another, delivers. himself to bondage, practises the same perfection of charity, as he who exposes himself to death. Nay, we may say that he does more; for slavery is more abhorrent to our nature than is death. Unde ad eandem perfectionem dilectionis pertinere videtur quod aliquis se ipsum servituti subiciat propter proximi amorem, et quod se periculo mortis exponat; licet hoc perfectius esse videatur; quia homines naturaliter magis mortem refugiunt quam servitutem. De perfectione dilectionis proximi quantum ad effectum. Tertio vero consideratur fraternae dilectionis perfectio ex effectu. Quanto enim maiora bona proximis impendimus, tanto perfectior dilectio esse videtur. Sunt autem et circa hoc tres gradus considerandi. Sunt enim quidam qui proximis obsequuntur in corporalibus bonis; puta qui vestiunt nudos, pascunt famelicos, et infirmis ministrant, et alia huiusmodi faciunt, quae sibi dominus reputat exhiberi, ut patet Matth. XXV. Sunt autem aliqui qui spiritualia bona largiuntur, quae tamen non excedunt conditionem humanam; sicut qui docet ignorantem, consulit dubio et revocat errantem: de quo commendatur Iob IV, 3: ecce docuisti plurimos, et manus lassas roborasti, vacillantes confirmaverunt sermones tui, et genua trementia confortasti. The perfection of fraternal charity must next be considered as manifested by the value of what we do for others. For our love for our neighbour is proved by the value of the gifts that we bestow upon him. Now there are three degrees in this charity. The first degree consists in ministering to the bodily wants of our brethren by clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, tending the sick, and the like. our Lord promises to consider as done to Himself, everything of this nature that we do for others. The second degree of charity consists in bestowing upon our neighbour such spiritual benefits as do not exceed the capability of human nature. Among such benefits we may mention the instruction of the ignorant, advice given to those in doubt, or the conversion of such as have gone astray. Such works of mercy are commended in Job iv. 3, “Behold, you have taught many, and you have strengthened the weary hands: your words have confirmed them that were staggering, and you have strengthened the trembling knees.” Sunt autem alii qui bona spiritualia et divina supra naturam et rationem existentia proximis largiuntur: scilicet doctrinam divinorum, manuductionem ad Deum, et spiritualium sacramentorum communicationem: de his donis apostolus mentionem facit ad Gal. III, 5, dicens: qui tribuit vobis spiritum, et operatur virtutes in vobis: et I Thess. II, 13: cum accepissetis a nobis verbum auditus Dei, accepistis illud non ut verbum hominum, sed sicut est vere verbum Dei: et II Cor. XI, 2: despondi vos uni viro virginem castam exhibere Christo, et postmodum subdit: nam si is qui venit, alium Christum praedicat quem non praedicavimus, aut alium spiritum accipitis quem non accepistis, aut aliud Evangelium quod non recepistis; recte pateremini. Huiusmodi autem bonorum collatio ad singularem quandam perfectionem pertinet fraternae dilectionis: quia per haec bona homo ultimo fini coniungitur, in quo summa hominis perfectio consistit: The third degree of charity consists in enriching our neighbour with such spiritual benefits as are supernatural and exceed human reason. Such benefits are, instruction in divine truth, direction to God, and the spiritual communication of the Sacraments. Of gifts such as these, St. Paul says, “He who gives you the Spirit, and works miracles among you “(Gal. iii. 5). Again he says (1 Thess. ii. 13), “When you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it, not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God.” And writing to the Corinthians the Apostle, after saying, “I have espoused you to one husband,” continues, “for if someone comes and preaches another Christ whom we have not preached, or if you receive another Spirit whom you have not received, or another Gospel which you have not received, you might well bear with him” (2 Cor. xi. 2). He who bestows upon others gifts of this nature practises a singular perfection of brotherly love; for, it is by means, of these gifts, that man attains to union with his last End, in which consists his highest perfection. unde ad hanc perfectionem ostendendam dicitur Iob XXXVII, 16: nunquid nosti semitas nubium, magnas et perfectas scientias? Per nubes autem, secundum Gregorium, sancti praedicatores intelliguntur. Habent autem istae nubes semitas subtilissimas, scilicet sanctae praedicationis vias, et perfectas scientias; dum de suis meritis se nihil esse sciunt, quia ea quae proximis impendunt, supra ipsos existunt. Additur autem ad hanc perfectionem, si huiusmodi spiritualia bona non uni tantum vel duobus, sed toti multitudini exhibeantur: quia, etiam secundum philosophos, bonum gentis perfectius est et divinius quam bonum unius. Unde et apostolus dicit Ephes. IV, 11: alios autem pastores et doctores ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii, in aedificationem corporis Christi, scilicet totius Ecclesiae; et I Cor. XIV, 12, dicit: quoniam aemulatores estis spirituum, ad aedificationem Ecclesiae quaerite ut abundetis. Job was asked by one of his friends, “Do you know the great paths of the clouds, and perfect knowledge?” (Job xxxvii. 16). The clouds, says St. Gregory, typify holy preachers. For these clouds have most intricate “paths,” or ways of holy preaching, and “perfect knowledge” when they recognise that of their own merits, they are nothing, and that all that they impart to their neighbours is above them. A further degree of perfection is attained when spiritual gifts of this nature are bestowed not on one alone, or on two, but on a whole multitude. For, according to the Philosopher, the good of a nation is better and more divine, than is the good of an individual man. Hence St. Paul writes to the Ephesians (iv. 13), “Other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” i.e. the Church. And again, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (xiv. 12), he says, “Forasmuch as you are zealous of spirits, seek to abound unto the edifying of the Church.”
Quid requiratur ad statum perfectionis
What is Required to Constitute the State of Perfection
Est autem considerandum, quod sicut supra praemisimus, perfectionis est non solum aliquod opus perfectum facere, sed etiam opus perfectum vovere: de utroque enim consilium datur, ut supra habitum est. Qui ergo aliquod opus perfectum ex voto facit, ad duplicem perfectionem pertingit; sicut qui continentiam servat, unam perfectionem habet, qui autem voto se obligat ad continentiam servandam et eam servat, habet et continentiae perfectionem et voti. Perfectio autem quae est ex voto, conditionem mutat et statum, secundum quod libertas et servitus diversae conditiones vel status esse dicuntur. Sic enim accipitur status 2 quaest. 9, ubi Adrianus Papa ait: si quando in causa capitali vel causa status interpellatum fuerit, non per exploratores, sed per se ipsos est agendum. Nam cum aliquis vovet continentiam servare, adimit sibi libertatem ducendi uxorem; qui autem simpliciter continet absque voto, praedicta libertate non privatur. Non ergo in aliquo mutatur eius conditio, sicut mutatur eius qui vovet. Nam et apud homines, si quis alicui obsequatur, non ex hoc conditionem mutat; sed si se obligat ad serviendum, iam alterius conditionis efficitur. IT must, as we have before said, be borne in mind that perfection does not consist in the mere accomplishment of a perfect work, but, likewise, in the vow to accomplish such a work. A counsel, as we have already observed, has been given us on each of these two points. He therefore who performs a perfect work under a vow attains to a twofold perfection. For, just as a man who observes continence is practising one form of perfection; so, he who obliges himself by vow to live in continence and who keeps his vow, practises both the perfection of continence and the perfection of a vow. For that perfection which comes from the observance of a vow changes the state and condition of a man as completely, as freedom alters the state and condition of a slave. This proposition is established in Gratian, II quaestio IX, where Pope Hadrian says, “If at any time we are called upon for judgment in a capital cause, or in a cause affecting a state of life, we must act at our own discretion, and not depend upon others to examine the case.” For, if a man make a vow to observe chastity, be deprives himself of liberty to marry. But he who simply observes chastity without a vow, is not deprived of his liberty. Therefore, he is not in an altered condition, as is the case with a man bound by a vow. Again, if one man serve another, his state is not thereby changed, as it is if, he lay himself under an obligation to serve him. Sed considerandum quod potest aliquis sibi libertatem adimere vel simpliciter, vel secundum quid. Si enim aliquis se Deo vel homini obliget ad aliquid speciale faciendum et pro aliquo tempore, non simpliciter libertatem amisit, sed solum secundum illud ad quod se obligavit. Si autem se totaliter in potestate alterius ponat, ita quod nihil sibi libertatis retineat; simpliciter conditionem mutavit factus simpliciter servus. Sic ergo dum aliquis Deo vovet aliquod particulare opus, puta peregrinationem, aut ieiunium aut aliquid huiusmodi, non simpliciter conditionem vel statum mutavit, sed secundum aliquid tantum. Si vero totam vitam suam voto Deo obligavit, ut in operibus perfectionis ei deserviat, iam simpliciter conditionem vel statum perfectionis assumpsit. Contingit vero aliquos perfectionis opera facere non voventes; alios vero totam vitam suam voto obligantes ad perfectionis opera, quae non implent. Unde patet quosdam perfectos quidem esse, qui tamen perfectionis statum non habent; alios vero perfectionis quidem statum habere, sed perfectos non esse. We must remember, however, that a man may deprive himself of liberty either absolutely (simpliciter) or relatively (secundum quid). If he bind himself, either to God or man, to perform some specific work for some allotted time, he renounces his freedom, not absolutely but partially, i.e., with regard to the particular matter, about which he has laid himself under an obligation. If, however, he place himself entirely at the disposal of another, reserving to himself no liberty whatsoever, he makes himself a slave absolutely, and thereby absolutely alters his condition. Thus, if a person make a vow to God to perform some specified work, such as a pilgrimage or a fast, he does not change his condition entirely, but only partially, i.e., with regard to that particular work which he vows to accomplish. If he dedicate his whole life to serve God in works of perfection he absolutely embraces the condition or state of perfection. But, as some men perform works of perfection without any vow, and others fail to accomplish the works of perfection to which they have vowed their whole lives, it is perfectly possible for persons to be perfect without being in the state of perfection, or to be in a state of perfection without being perfect.
Quod esse in statu perfectionis convenit episcopis et religiosis
The State of Perfection is A Condition Befitting Bishops and Religious
Ex his autem quae supra dicta sunt manifeste apparet, quibus competat in perfectionis statu esse. Dictum est enim supra, quod ad perfectionem divinae dilectionis triplici via proceditur: scilicet abrenuntiando exterioribus bonis; relinquendo uxorem, et alias cognationes carnales, et abnegando se ipsum vel per mortem quam pro Christo patitur, vel quia abnegat propriam voluntatem. Qui ergo ad haec perfectionis opera totam vitam suam voto obligant Deo, manifestum est eos perfectionis statum assumere. Et quia in omni religione haec tria voventur; manifestum est omnem religionem perfectionis statum esse. FROM all that has been said it is easy to see which are the classes of men whom the state of perfection befits. We know that there are three roads to the perfection of divine love, to wit the giving up of material possessions; the sacrifice of marriage and of earthly ties; and total self-denial either by death for Christ, or by the abnegation of self-will. Now, they who by vow dedicate their whole lives to these works of perfection, manifestly embrace the state of perfection. And, as in every religious order these three vows are made, it is plain that every form of religious life is included in the state of perfection. Rursus autem ostensum est, tria pertinere ad perfectionem dilectionis fraternae: ut scilicet inimici diligantur eisque serviatur; et ut aliquis animam suam pro fratribus ponat, vel exponendo periculis mortis, vel etiam vitam suam totaliter ordinando in utilitatem proximorum; et quod proximis spiritualia impendantur. Ad haec autem tria manifestum est teneri episcopos. Cum enim Ecclesiae universae curam susceperint, in qua plerumque inveniuntur aliqui eos odientes, blasphemantes et persequentes, necesse habent inimicis et persequentibus dilectionis et beneficentiae vicem rependere: cuius exemplum in apostolis apparet, quorum sunt episcopi successores: in medio enim persecutorum commorantes eorum salutem procurabant. Unde et dominus eis mandat Matth. X, 16: ecce ego mitto vos sicut oves in medio luporum: ut scilicet plurimos morsus ab eis accipientes, non solum non consumantur, sed et illos convertant. Et Augustinus in Lib. de sermone domini in monte, exponens id quod habetur Matth. V 39: si quis te percusserit in dexteram maxillam, praebe illi et alteram, sic dicit: hoc ad misericordiam pertinere hi maxime sentiunt qui eis quos multum diligunt, serviunt, vel pueris vel phreneticis, a quibus multa saepe patiuntur; et si eorum salus id exigat, praebent se etiam ut plura patiantur. Docet ergo dominus medicus animarum ut discipuli sui eorum quorum saluti consulere volunt, imbecillitates aequo animo tolerarent. Omnis namque improbitas ex imbecillitate animi venit: quia nihil Innocentius est eo qui est in virtute perfectus. Hinc est quod apostolus I Cor. IV, 12, dicit: maledicimur, et benedicimus; persecutionem patimur, et sustinemus; blasphemamur, et obsecramus. Again, we have pointed out that there are three elements in the perfection of brotherly love. It is necessary to perfect brotherly love, first, that a man love his enemies and assist them; secondly, that he lay down his life for the brethren either by exposing himself to the danger of death or by devoting his whole life to their service; and thirdly, that he minister to their spiritual needs. Now, bishops are bound to fulfil these three offices of charity. As they undertake the entire charge of their churches, wherein oftentimes many will be found to hate, persecute, and revile them, they are under the obligation of repaying their enemies and persecutors by benevolence and charity, after the example of the Apostles, whose successors they are, and who dwelt among those most hostile to them and laboured for their conversion. Thus were verified the words of our Lord (Matt. x. 16), “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.” For, although the Apostles were, so to speak, torn by their enemies, they were not destroyed, but, on the contrary, they converted those who maltreated them. St. Augustine in his book, De Sermone Domini in monte, has the following commentary on the words, “If one strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. v. 39): “These words (he says), inviting us to mercy, appeal most to such as have to minister to those whom they love, whether they be children, or men of frenzied brain. For, from such persons they suffer much; and they are prepared, if need be, to suffer more. Thus, the great Physician and Master of souls instructs His disciples, that they must bear, with serenity, the follies of those whose salvation they desire to secure. For crime is an indication of a weak mind, as innocence is a proof of perfect strength.” Hence St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, “We are reviled and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat”(1 Cor. iv. 12). Tenentur etiam episcopi ut pro salute suorum subditorum animam suam ponant. Dicit enim dominus Ioan. X, 11: ego sum pastor bonus: bonus pastor animam suam ponit pro ovibus suis: quod exponens Gregorius dicit: audistis, fratres carissimi, eruditionem vestram et periculum nostrum; et postea subdit: ostensa est nobis de contemptu mortis via quam sequamur: primum exteriora nostra misericorditer ovibus impendere; postremum vero, si necesse sit, etiam mortem nostram pro eis debemus ministrare; et postea subdit: lupus super oves venit, cum quilibet iniustus et raptor fideles quosque atque humiles opprimit. Sed is qui pastor videbatur esse et non erat, relinquit oves et fugit: quia dum sibi ab eo periculum metuit, resistere eius iniustitiae non praesumit. Ex quibus verbis apparet quod de necessitate pastoralis officii est ut periculum mortis non refugiat propter gregis sibi commissi salutem. Bishops are farther bound to sacrifice their lives for the salvation of those committed to them, and thus to put in practice the words of our Lord, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” (John x. 11). Speaking of these words, St. Gregory says, “In the Gospel which has been read to you, beloved brethren, you learn both a lesson for yourselves, and the danger which threatens us, There is set before us both the contempt of death, with which we ought to be inspired, and the model that we ought to imitate.”He further adds, “Our first duty is, in charity, to distribute our goods to our sheep; and we are further bound, if need be, to serve them by our death.... The wolf that comes upon the sheep signifies any unjust seducer or oppressor of the faithful and the lowly. He that is no true shepherd but only bears the semblance of such, will leave his sheep and take to flight, being too fearful of death to dare to resist iniquity.” From these words it is clear, that it is one of the duties of those discharging the episcopal office to face death for the sake of the church committed to them. Obligatur ergo ex ipso officio sibi commisso ad hanc perfectionem dilectionis, ut pro fratribus animam ponat. Similiter etiam ex officio pontifex obligatur ad hoc quod bona spiritualia proximis administret, quasi quidam mediator inter Deum et hominem constitutus, vicem eius agens qui est mediator Dei et hominum Iesus Christus, ut dicitur I Tim. II, 5: cuius figuram Moyses gerens dicebat Deut. V, 5: ego sequester et medius fui inter dominum et vos in tempore illo. Et ideo preces et oblationes Deo in persona populi offert: quia, ut dicitur Hebr. V, 1, omnis pontifex ex hominibus assumptus, pro hominibus constituitur in his quae sunt ad Deum, ut offerat dona et sacrificia pro peccatis. Sed rursus personam Dei gerit in comparatione ad populum, dum populo quasi vice Dei iudicia, documenta, exempla et sacramenta ministrat. Unde apostolus dicit II Cor. II, 10: ego quod donavi, si quid donavi, propter vos in persona Christi: et in eadem epistola, dicit: an experimentum quaeritis eius qui in me loquitur Christus? Et I Cor. IX, 11: si nos vobis spiritualia seminavimus, non magnum est si carnalia vestra metamus. Ad huiusmodi autem perfectionem episcopi in sua ordinatione se obligant, sicut et religiosi in sua professione; unde apostolus dicit I ad Tim. ult.: certa certamen bonum fidei, apprehende vitam aeternam in qua vocatus es et confessus bonam confessionem coram multis testibus; scilicet in tua ordinatione, ut Glossa ibidem exponit. Et ideo episcopi statum perfectionis habent, sicut et religiosi. Sicut autem in humanis contractibus aliquae solemnitates secundum humana iura adhibentur, ut contractus firmior habeatur; ita cum quadam solemnitate et benedictione et pontificalis status assumitur, et etiam religionis professio celebratur. Unde Dionysius dicit, 6 cap. Eccles. Hierar., de monachis loquens: propter quod et perfectivam ipsis donans gratiam sancta legislatio, quae etiam ipsos quadam dignata est sanctificativa invocatione. Hence, those who undertake this office are bound to practise such perfection of charity as consists in the sacrifice of their life for the brethren. In the same manner, a bishop is bound by his office to dispense spiritual gifts to his neighbour, and thus to become a mediator between God and man, acting in the place of Him who is “the one Mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. ii). Moses, speaking as a type of our Lord, said, “I was the mediator and stood between the Lord and you at that time” (Deut. v. 1). Hence, a bishop must, in the name of his people, offer up prayers and supplications to God. “For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb. v. 1). And, on the other hand, he must act with regard to his people as the vicar of God, giving to his flock by the power of the Lord, judgment, instruction, example, and sacraments. St. Paul says, “For what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ” (2 Cor. ii. 10). Again, in the same epistle (xiii. 3) he says, “Do you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me?” Again (1 Cor. ix. 11), he uses these words, “If we have sown for you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we reap your carnal things?” Now a bishop, at his ordination or consecration, and a religious at his profession, engages himself to this degree of perfection. St. Paul encourages St. Timothy to its practice, in the following words: “Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called when you made a good confession before many witnesses” (1 Tim. vi. 12). This “good confession” is interpreted by the Gloss to mean ordination. Hence, bishops, as well as religious, are bound to a state of perfection. And, as human contracts are drawn up with certain ceremonies, so, both the consecration of bishops and the profession of religious are solemnized by certain rites and blessings. Dionysius (VI. Cap. Eccles. Hierarch.) speaking of monks, says, “On this account the holy law has given them perfect grace, and has granted it to them with a certain sanctifying ceremonial (invocatione).”
Quod status pontificalis est perfectior quam status religionis
The Episcopal Office is More Sacred Than is the Religious Life
Posset autem alicui minus circumspecto videri quod status perfectionis religionis esset sublimior quam status pontificalis perfectionis; sicut dilectio Dei, ad cuius perfectionem ordinatur religionis status, praeeminet dilectioni proximi, ad cuius perfectionem ordinatur pontificalis status; et sicut vita activa, cui pontifices inserviunt, minor est quam vita contemplativa, ad quam religionis status ordinari videtur. Dicit enim Dionysius 6 cap. Eccles. Hierar., quod religiosos alii quidem famulos, alii vero monachos nominant, ex Dei puro servitio et famulatu et indivisibili et singulari vita unienti ipsos in divisibilium sanctis convolutionibus, idest contemplationibus, ad deiformem unitatem, et amabilem Deo perfectionem. Potest etiam aliquibus videri quod status praelationis non sit perfectus, quia divitias eis possidere licet; cum tamen dominus dicat Matth. XIX, 21: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus. TO one who has not duly considered the subject, the religious state might appear to be more sublime than the episcopal office. For the love of God, to the perfection of which religious dedicate their lives, far surpasses the love of our neighbour to which the pontifical state is devoted; just as the contemplative life, in which religious are engaged, is nobler than the active life, to which bishops are ordained. Dionysius (VI. Cap. Eccles. Hierarch.) says that, “Some persons call religious servants, and others call them monks, on account of their pure service and ministry to God, and by reason of their simple undivided life which lifts them by holy contemplation of those things which are unseen, to a godlike oneness and to perfection pleasing to the Lord.” Again the episcopal office may appear to fall short of perfection, because bishops are allowed to possess money, notwithstanding the words of our Lord, “If you will be perfect, go, sell what you hast, and give to the poor” (Matt. xix 21). Sed hoc dictum veritati repugnat. Dionysius enim dicit, 5 cap. Eccles. Hierar., quod ordo episcoporum est perfectivus: et in 6 cap. dicit ordinem monachorum esse ordinem perfectorum. Manifestum est autem maiorem perfectionem requiri ad hoc quod aliquis perfectionem aliis tribuat, quam ad hoc quod aliquis in se ipso perfectus sit; sicut maius est posse calefacere quam calere, et omnis causa potior est effectu. Relinquitur ergo episcopalem statum maioris perfectionis esse quam statum cuiuscumque religionis. But this way of thinking is not in accordance with truth. Dionysius says (V. Cap. Eccles. Hierarch.) that the “duty of bishops is to produce perfection,” and elsewhere (Cap. VI.), he says, that “the life of monks is a state of the perfect.” Now it is evident that greater perfection is needed in order to make others perfect than is required in a state which in itself is perfect; just as it is better to do something than to be something, and just as a cause is more powerful than its effect. Hence, the episcopal state is one of greater perfection, than is that of any religious order. Idem autem apparet, si quis consideret ea ad quae utrique obligantur. Obligantur enim religiosi ad hoc quod temporalia deserant, quod castimoniam servent, et quod sub obedientia vivant: quibus multo est amplius et difficilius pro salute aliorum vitam ponere, ad quod, sicut dictum est, episcopi obligantur. Unde manifestum est graviorem esse episcopalem obligationem quam religionis. This conclusion is still more clearly established, if we consider the obligations attached to the episcopal office, and those belonging to the religious life. Religious are bound to renounce material possessions, to observe chastity, and to live in obedience. But the duties of bishops are far more onerous and difficult of fulfilment. For they, as we have seen, are obliged to lay down their lives for their flocks. Hence the obligation of a bishop is much weightier than is that of a religious. Amplius. In his ipsis ad quae religiosi obligantur, episcopi quodammodo obligari videntur. Tenentur enim episcopi bona temporalia quae habent, in necessitate suis subditis exhibere, quos pascere debent non solum verbo et exemplo, sed etiam temporali subsidio. Unde Petro, Ioan ult., ter dictum est a domino ut eius pasceret gregem; quod ipse retinens, alios ad hoc ipsum exhortatur dicens, I Petr. ult. 2: pascite, qui in vobis est, gregem domini. Et Gregorius dicit in auctoritate supra inducta, ex persona episcoporum loquens: exteriora nostra misericorditer ovibus eius debemus impendere; et postea subdit: qui non dat pro ovibus substantiam suam, quando pro his daturus est animam suam? Bishops are further bound by the same obligations as those imposed upon religious. For, as it is their duty to feed their flocks, not only by word and example, but likewise by temporal assistance, they are obliged, if need arise, to distribute their worldly goods among those committed to their care. St. Peter was three times commanded by our Lord to feed His sheep. The exhortation Bank into his mind, and he recalls it in his epistle, saying, “Feed the flock of God which is among you” (1 St. Peter v. 2). St. Gregory, likewise, speaking as though in the person of bishops, says: “We ought in charity to distribute our goods among our sheep... for how shall he who will not of his temporal substance minister unto his flock, be ready for its sake to sacrifice his life?” Ipsi etiam episcopi ad castitatem obligantur. Et cum alios mundare debeant, ipsos convenit praecipue esse mundos. Unde Dionysius dicit, 3 cap. Cael. Hierar., quod purgativos ordines oportet ex abundantia purgationis aliis tradere de propria castitate. Bishops, likewise, are bound to live in chastity. For it is only meet that they who are to preach purity to others, should themselves lead spotless lives. Hence Dionysius (III. cap. Coelest. Hierarch.) says that from the abundance of their own chastity, they must impart purity to others. Et quidem religiosi per votum obedientiae se uni praelato subiiciunt; episcopus vero se servum constituit omnium quorum curam assumit, dum tenetur non quod suum est quaerere, sed quod multis ut salvi fiant, ut apostolus dicit I ad Cor. X 33. Unde ipse de se dicit IX cap. vers. 19 eiusdem epistolae: cum liber essem ex omnibus, omnium me servum feci; et II ad Cor. IV 5: non enim nosmet ipsos praedicamus, sed Iesum Christum dominum nostrum, nos autem servos vestros per Iesum. Unde et consuetudo inolevit ut summus pontifex se scribat servum servorum Dei. Unde patet episcopalem statum maioris perfectionis esse quam statum religionis. Religious, by their vow of obedience, bind themselves to submit to one superior; but a bishop constitutes himself the servant of all of whom he undertakes the care. He is bound to imitate the example of St. Paul, who tells us that he sought not that which was profitable to himself but to many, that they might be saved (1 Cor. x. 33). Again the Apostle says of himself, “For whereas I was free unto all, I made myself the servant of all” (1 Cor. ix. 19). “For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord; and ourselves your servants through Jesus” (2 Cor. iv. 5). Hence it is the custom for the Sovereign Pontiff to subscribe himself as “the servant of the servants of God.” We must conclude, then, that the episcopal office is a condition of higher perfection than is the religious life. Item, Dionysius dicit, 6 cap. ecclesiasticae ierarchiae, monachorum statum non esse adductivum aliorum, sed in se ipso stantem in singulari et sancta statione. Ad episcopos autem pertinet ex obligatione voti alios ad Deum adducere. Dicit autem Gregorius super Ezechielem quod nullum sacrificium est magis Deo acceptum quam zelus animarum. Ordo igitur episcoporum perfectissimus est. Hoc etiam evidenter ostenditur ex Ecclesiae consuetudine, per quam religiosi a suorum praelatorum obedientia absoluti, ad episcopatus ordinem assumuntur. Quod quidem licitum non esset, nisi episcopalis status esset perfectior. Sequitur enim Ecclesia Dei Pauli sententiam, qui dicit, I ad Cor. XII, 31: aemulamini charismata meliora. Dionysius, again, writes (VI. Cap. Eccles. Hierarch.) “The monastic state is not intended to lead others forward, but is ordained for its own sake, and remains on its own peculiar and sacred basis.” Bishops, on the other hand, are under the obligation of guiding others to God. St. Gregory, writing on the book of Ezechiel, says that, “no sacrifice is more acceptable to God than is zeal for souls.” These words clearly point out that the episcopal is, of all states, the most perfect. This conclusion is further proved by the custom of the church, which, when a religious is appointed to a bishopric, releases him from obedience to the superiors of his order. For this could not be done, were not the episcopal state one of greater perfection than the religious. In acting thus the Church of God obeys the counsel of St. Paul, “Be therefore zealous for the better gifts” (1 Cor. xii. 31).
Solutio rationum quibus impugnari videtur perfectio pontificalis status
An Answer to Certain Arguments Which May Seem to Call in Question the Perfection of the Episcopal State
Ea vero quae in contrarium obiiciuntur, non difficile est solvere. Perfectio enim dilectionis proximi, ut supra dictum est, ex perfectione divinae dilectionis derivatur: quae quidem tantum in cordibus aliquorum praevalet ut non solum Deo frui velint et ei servire, sed etiam proximis propter Deum. Unde apostolus dicit II ad Cor. V 13 - 14: sive mente excedimus, scilicet per contemplationem, hoc est Deo, idest ad honorem Dei: sive sobrii sumus, quasi vobis condescendentes, hoc est vobis, idest ad utilitatem vestram. Caritas enim Christi urget nos, ut scilicet pro vobis omnia faciamus, ut Glosa exponit. Manifestum est autem quod maioris dilectionis signum est ut homo propter amicum etiam alii serviat, quam si soli amico servire velit. IT is not difficult to answer the objections brought against the perfection of the Episcopal office. The perfection of fraternal charity springs, as we have seen, from the perfection of the love of God, which in the hearts of some men is so vigorous that it urges them, not only to desire to enjoy God and to serve Him, but likewise for His sake to assist their neighbours. Hence in the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians (v. 13), St. Paul says, “Whether we be transported in mind” (by contemplation) “it is to God” (i.e. to the. glory of God), “or whether we be sober” (in condescension. to you) “it is to you,” i.e. for your profit; “for the love of Christ presses us,” “causing us (as the Gloss explains) to do all things for you.” For it is clear that it is a greater sign of love if a man, for the sake of his friend, be willing to serve another, than if he will only render service to his friend in his own person. Quod etiam dicitur de perfectione contemplativae vitae, non videtur ad propositum esse. Cum enim episcopus mediator inter Deum et homines constituatur, oportet ipsum et in actione praecellere, inquantum minister hominum constituitur, et in contemplatione praecipuum esse, ut ex Deo hauriat quod hominibus tradat; unde Gregorius dicit in pastorali sit praesul actione praecipuus, prae cunctis contemplatione suspensus, rector internorum curam in exteriorum occupatione non minuens, exteriorum providentiam in interiorum solicitudine non relinquens. Sed et si detrimentum aliquod in dulcedine contemplationis patiuntur propter exteriorem occupationem qua proximis serviunt, hoc ipsum perfectioni dilectionis divinae attestatur. Magis enim aliquem amare convincitur qui propter eius amorem iucunditate praesentiae eius ad tempus carere desiderat in eius servitiis occupatus, quam si eius praesentia semper frui vellet. Unde apostolus ad Rom. IX, 3, postquam dixerat quod: neque mors neque vita separabit me a caritate Christi, post modicum subiungit: optabam ego ipse anathema esse a Christo pro fratribus meis: quod exponens Chrysostomus dicit in Lib. de compunctione cordis: ita totam eius mentem devicit amor Christi, ut in hoc quod ei prae ceteris omnibus amabilius erat, esse cum Christo, rursus idipsum, quia ita placeret Christo, contemneret. The argument drawn from the comparison between the perfection of the contemplative and the active life, does not seem to have much bearing on the point in question. A bishop, being singled out as mediator between God and men, must, as minister to men, be pre-eminent in the active life. At the same time he must excel in contemplation, in order to draw from God the spiritual wisdom which he is bound to impart to those committed to his care. Hence St. Gregory says (in Liber regulae pastoralia), “A bishop should be foremost in action, and he should be raised above all men by contemplation. He should be solicitous, lest, on account of external occupation, he relax in his zeal for spiritual affairs; neither should his care for spiritual things lessen his diligence concerning such as are temporal.” It may happen, indeed, that a man occupied in the service of others, may suffer some loss of sweetness in contemplation; but this very sacrifice is a proof of the perfection of his love of God. For if, for the sake of doing service to one whom we love, we deprive ourselves of the happiness of being in his presence, we show stronger affection for him, than if we endeavoured always to enjoy his company. St. Paul writing to the Romans (ix. 3) says, “Neither death, nor life shall separate me from the love of God”; he then continues, “I wished myself to be anathema from Christ for my brethren.” St. Chrysostom, in his book, De compunctione cordis has the following commentary on these words: “The love of Christ had thus so completely conquered the heart of this Apostle, that, in order to please Him, he was ready to sacrifice His presence, which to him was the thing dear above all others.” Tertiae vero obiectioni dupliciter respondetur. Primo quidem, quia episcopi divitias Ecclesiae quas habent, non quasi suas possident, sed quasi communes dispensant: quod evangelicae perfectioni non derogat. Unde prosper dicit, et habetur 12, quaest. I: expedit facultates Ecclesiae possideri, et proprias perfectionis amore contemni; et postea introducto sancti Paulini exemplo, subiungit: quo facto satis ostenditur et propria debere propter perfectionem contemni, et sine impedimento perfectionis Ecclesiae facultates, quae sunt communia, possidere. The third objection brought against the perfection of the episcopal state admits of a double answer. First, although a bishop holds certain possessions, he does not regard them as his own; but he distributes them as common property; and thus he does not violate evangelical perfection. On this point Prosper says (XII. quaestione 1), “It is right to possess the property of the Church and to renounce one’s own belongings for the love of perfection.”Again in the same chapter, after quoting the example of St. Paulinus, he says, “By this action we clearly learn, that it befits us to part with. our own possessions for the sake of perfection, and that, without any imperfection, we may possess the common property of the Church.” Circa quod tamen considerandum est, quod Ecclesiae facultates si sic ab aliquo possideantur quod earum fructus non lucrifaciat, sed solum dispenset, hoc evangelicae perfectioni non derogat: alioquin abbates et praepositi monasteriorum a religionis perfectione deciderent contra votum paupertatis agentes: quod est omnino absurdum. Si vero aliquis ex communibus Ecclesiae facultatibus non solum dispensator fructuum, sed dominus fiat eos lucrifaciens, manifestum est eum aliquid proprium possidere; et ita deficit a perfectione eorum qui omnibus abrenuntiantes sine proprio vivunt. Sed quia episcopi non solum facultates Ecclesiae possidere possunt, sed etiam patrimonialia bona, de quibus etiam eis testamentum condere licet; videtur quod ab evangelica perfectione deficiant, ad quam invitavit dominus Matth. XIX 21: si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus. Sed haec quaestio de facili solvitur, si praedicta ad memoriam revocentur. Dictum est enim supra, quod abdicatio propriarum divitiarum non est perfectio, sed quoddam perfectionis instrumentum. Possibile autem est aliquem perfectionem acquirere sine propriarum divitiarum abiectione actuali. Hoc autem sic potest manifestari. Cum enim dominus perfectionis documentum tradens dicat Matth. V 39 - 41: si quis percusserit te in maxillam dexteram, praebe ei et alteram; et ei qui vult tecum in iudicio contendere et tunicam tuam tollere, dimitte ei pallium; et quicumque te angariaverit mille passus, vade cum eo alia duo, non semper perfecti hoc actu complent: alioquin dominus ab hac perfectione defecit, quia alapa suscepta non praebuit alteram, sed dixit: si male locutus sum, perhibe testimonium de malo; si autem bene, quid me caedis?, Ut dicitur Ioan. XVIII, 23. Sed nec Paulus cum percuteretur, maxillam praebuit; sed, sicut dicitur Act. XXIII 3, dixit: percutiet te Deus, paries dealbate. We must bear in mind that if anyone has charge of the goods of the Church, and does not gain any personal profit from them, but only acts as a steward or dispenser, he does not fail in evangelical perfection. Were this so, abbots and superiors of monasteries would sin against their vow of poverty and would fail in religious perfection, which cannot at all be admitted. Of course, if a bishop, not content with dispensing the revenues of his see, should make himself their owner by using them to his own personal profit, he would plainly be the possessor of private property; and he would thus, fail to attain to the perfection of those who renounce everything, and live with nothing of their own. But, it may be thought that bishops fail in the evangelical perfection set forth in the words, “If you would be perfect,” etc. (Matt. xix. 21), since they are not only at liberty to possess the property of their Church, but are also free to keep their own patrimony, and to dispose of it by will. This objection is easily answered, if the preceding remarks be called to mind. As we have already said, the renunciation of riches does not constitute perfection; it is merely a means to it. It is quite possible for a man to acquire perfection, without actually giving up what he possesses. This may be made clear by the following example. our Lord, amongst other counsels of perfection, gave this: “If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other: and if a man contends with you in judgment and takes away your coat, let him take your cloak also. And whoever forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him” (Matt. v. 39-41). But even the perfect do not obey these words literally. Nay, our Lord Himself when He suffered a blow on the face, did not turn His other cheek. He said, “If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil, but if well why do you strike me?” (John xviii. 23). Neither did St. Paul, when he was smitten, offer his cheek. He exclaimed, “God shall strike you, you whited wall” (Acts xxiii. 3). Non est ergo de necessitate perfectionis quod haec opere compleantur, sed haec intelligenda sunt secundum animi praeparationem, ut Augustinus dicit in Lib. de sermone domini in monte. In hoc enim perfectio hominis consistit ut homo habeat animum paratum ad haec facienda quotiescumque fuerit opus. Similiter etiam, ut Augustinus dicit in libro quaestionum, et habetur in decretis XLII qu., quod dominus dicit in Evangelio: iustificata est sapientia (a) filiis suis, ostendit filios sapientiae intelligere non in abstinendo nec in manducando esse iustitiam, sed in aequanimitate tolerandi inopiam. Unde et apostolus dicit, Philipp. IV, 12: scio (...) abundare et penuriam pati. Hence, we see that it is not necessary that these counsels should be actually obeyed; but, as St. Augustine says in his book De Sermone Domini in Monte, they are to be understood as signifying the preparation of the heart. For, perfection consists in a man’s readiness to perform any work that may be required of him. In like manner St. Augustine cites in his book Quaestionum Evangelii (and we find the same in Decretis, Dist. xli.), our Lord’s words, “Wisdom is justified by all her children,” as proving that the sons of wisdom understand that justice consists neither in eating nor in abstinence, but in suffering want with patience. St. Paul expresses the same thought when he writes to the Philippians (iv. 12), “I know both how to abound and to suffer need.” Ad hanc autem aequanimitatem inopiam tolerandi religiosi perveniunt per exercitium nihil habendi; sed episcopi ad eam perduci possunt per exercitium circa curam Ecclesiae et dilectionem fraternam: ex qua non solum proprias divitias pro salute proximorum exponere vel contemnere debent esse parati, quando fuerit opportunum; sed etiam propria corpora, ut supra dictum est. Unde et Chrysostomus dicit in dialogo suo: magnum certe monachorum certamen: et postea subdit: ibi, scilicet in monachico statu, ieiunium est durum, et vigiliae, et reliqua quae ad afflictionem corporis concurrunt: hic vero, scilicet in statu pontificis, erga animam ars tota versatur. Et postea ponit exemplum, sicut hi qui arte mechanica quaedam stupenda faciunt, ad quae utuntur plurimis instrumentis; philosophus autem nihil de his requirens, omnem artem suam operibus solius mentis ostendit. Religious learn this serenity and patience in bearing poverty, by their practice of possessing nothing. Bishops, on the other hand, may attain to it, by exercising solicitude about their church and by fraternal charity, which ought to make them willing not merely to sacrifice their money, but, if need be, their very life for their flocks. St. Chrysostom says in his Dialogue, “Monks do in truth wage a severe war.” He then adds, “For the fasting, and vigils, and other penitential exercises of the monastic state are very hard and painful. But in the episcopal state, the conflict is more felt by the soul than by the body.” The saint further, by way of example, draws a comparison between a craftsman, who, by means of various instruments, produces marvellous pieces of mechanism, and a philosopher who displays his skill merely by the operations of his intellect. Posset autem alicui videri quod episcopi teneantur ut hanc perfectionem de abiiciendis divitiis habeant non solum in praeparatione animi, sed etiam in exercitio actus. Dominus enim apostolis mandavit, ut dicitur Matth. X, 9: nolite possidere aurum neque argentum, neque pecuniam in zonis vestris; non peram in via, neque duas tunicas, neque calceamenta, neque virgam. Episcopi autem successores apostolorum sunt. Tenentur ergo ad haec mandata apostolis facta. Sed manifestum est id quod concluditur, verum non esse. Fuerunt enim multi in Ecclesia episcopi, de quorum sanctitate dubitari non potest, qui hoc non observaverunt, sicut Athanasius, Hilarius et alii plurimi. Ut autem Augustinus dicit in libro contra mendacium, non solum oportet praecepta Dei retinere, sed etiam vitam moresque iustorum. Itaque plura in verbis intelligere non valentes, in factis sanctorum colligimus, quemadmodum oportet accipi. Et huius ratio est quia idem spiritus sanctus qui loquitur in Scripturis, movet sanctos ad operandum, secundum illud Rom. VIII 14: qui spiritu Dei aguntur, hi filii Dei sunt. Et ideo non est credendum, id quod a sanctis viris communiter agitur, contra divinum praeceptum esse. Ut ergo ibidem dicitur, et etiam in Lib. de consensu Evangelistarum, cur dominus apostolis dixerit ut nihil possiderent nec aliquid secum in via portarent, satis ipse significavit cum addidit: dignus est operarius mercede sua; ubi satis ostendit permissum hoc esse, non iussum: unde qui permissione uti non vult ut ab aliis accipiat unde vivat, sed sua defert ad vivendum, non contra domini praeceptum facit. Aliud est enim permissione non uti, quod et Paulus fecit; aliud agere contra praeceptum. It may be urged, that bishops are bound to practise this perfection of the renunciation of riches, not in will alone, but also in deed. For, when our Lord sent His disciples on their mission, He said to them: “Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money . in your purses: nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff” (Matt. x. 9). Now, as bishops are the successors of the Apostles, they ought to obey the precept given to the Apostles. But this conclusion is clearly fallacious. For some of the most saintly bishops of the Church, whose holiness is beyond question, such as Athanasius, Hilary, and many of their successors, have not observed this command of our Lord. As St. Augustine says, in his book Contra mendacium, “We must not only bear in mind the precepts of God, but we must also be attentive to the lives and customs of the just.” For, although we fail to understand many things that are written for us, we can gather their meaning from the deeds of the saints, and thus learn in what sense we are to interpret them. It is on this account, that the Holy Spirit, Who speaks by the Scriptures, inspires the actions of the Saints. St. Paul tells us the same truth when he says, “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom. viii. 14). Hence, we have no right to conclude that what is commonly done by holy men, is contrary to the Divine commandments. our Lord, in the chapter of St. Matthew already quoted, gives a reason for His words to His Apostles, bidding them not to possess anything, nor to take anything on their journey. “The labourer,” He says, “is worthy of his hire.” Thus He gives a permission, not a command, to His disciples, to accept hospitality. Therefore, if any one of them desired not to avail himself of this permission, but preferred to carry provisions with him, be would not be disobeying a precept of his Master. For there is a difference between disobeying a command, and omitting (after the example of St. Paul) to make use of a permission. Potest et aliter solvi, ut intelligatur hoc dominum praecepisse quantum ad primam missionem, qua mittebantur ad praedicandum Iudaeis, apud quos consuetum erat ut doctores viverent de stipendiis eorum quos docebant. Voluit enim dominus, sicut Chrysostomus dicit, primo quidem discipulos per hoc facere non suspectos, quasi causa quaestus praedicarent. Secundo ut a sollicitudine liberarentur. Tertio ut virtutis eius experimentum sumerent, qui sine huiusmodi poterat eis in necessariis providere. Sed postmodum imminente passione, quando iam ad gentes mittendi erant, aliud eis praecepit, ut habetur Luc. XXII, 35-36. Quaesivit enim ab eis: quando misi vos sine sacculo et pera, numquid aliquid defuit vobis? Qui cum dixissent, nihil, subiungit: sed nunc qui habet sacculum, tollat similiter et peram. Unde ad hoc non tenentur episcopi, qui sunt apostolorum successores, ut nihil possideant neque aliquid secum in via deferant. We may further understand these words of Christ to the Apostles, by remembering that He was sending them to preach to the Jews, with whom it was customary for the teachers to Eve by the contributions of their disciples. our Lord (says St. Chrysostom) desired, first, that His disciples should be above suspicion, and should not be thought to be preaching for the sake of gain. Secondly, He wished them to be free from anxiety about material things. Thirdly, He willed that they should, by experience, learn that, without anxiety on their part, His power could provide them with all that they might need. But He acted differently on the Eve of His Passion, when He was about to send them forth to preach to the Gentiles. For, then, He said to them, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes) did you want anything? But they said: nothing. Then said He unto them: But now he that has a purse let him take it, and likewise a scrip” (Luke xxii). These words prove that bishops, as successors of the Apostles, are not bound to possess nothing, nor to carry nothing with them on their journeys.
Quod episcopalis status quamvis sit perfectior non est ambiendus
The Episcopal Office, Although A State of Greater Perfection Than is the Religious Life, Is, Nevertheless, Not to Be Coveted
Sed cum apostolus dicat, I Cor. XII, 31: aemulamini charismata meliora: si pontificalis status est perfectior quam status religionis, magis deberet aliquis sibi statum praelationis procurare quam quod ad statum religionis accederet. Sed si quis diligenter consideret, evidens ratio invenitur quare religionis status meritorie appetitur; status autem pontificalis non absque vitio ambitionis desideratur. Qui enim statum religionis assumit, se et sua abnegans, aliis se subicit propter Christum; qui vero ad statum pontificalem promovetur, quendam sublimitatis honorem in his quae sunt Christi, consequitur; quem appetere praesumptuosum videtur, cum maior honor et potestas non nisi melioribus debeatur. ST. PAUL exhorts the Corinthians (1 Ep. xii. 31) to be “zealous for the better gifts.” Seeing, then, how far the episcopal office exceeds, in perfection, the religious life, ought men not to be more eager to be made bishops, than to become religious? If anyone who asks this question will give a little consideration to the matter, he will see that while there is abundant reason why the religious life should be desired, the episcopal office, on the contrary, should, by no means, be coveted. For he who enters religion, renounces himself together with all that belongs to him, and, for the love of God, submits himself to the government of another. On the other hand, he who is promoted to a bishopric, is raised to an exalted position in God’s kingdom upon earth. Consequently, as honour and power are not rightfully bestowed on any save on the best among men, it would be presumptuous to aspire to such a dignity. Unde Augustinus, 19 de Civ. Dei, dicit: exponere voluit apostolus quid sit episcopatus, quia nomen est operis, non honoris. Graecum est enim atque inde translatum vocabulum, quod ille qui praeficitur eis quibus praeficitur superintendit, curam scilicet eorum gerens: scopos quippe intentio est. Ergo episcopin, si velimus, Latine superintendere dicere possumus, ut intelligat non se esse episcopum qui praeesse dilexerit, non prodesse. Itaque a studio cognoscendae veritatis nemo prohibetur, quod ad laudabile pertinet otium; locus vero superior, sine quo regi populus non potest, etsi ita teneatur atque administretur ut decet, tamen indecenter appetitur. Quamobrem otium sanctum quaerit caritas veritatis, negotium iustum suscipit necessitas caritatis: quam sarcinam si nullus imponit, percipiendae atque intuendae vacandum est veritati. Si autem imponitur, suscipienda est propter caritatis necessitatem. Chrysostomus etiam super Matthaeum, exponens illud, principes gentium dominantur eorum, sic dicit: opus quidem desiderare bonum, bonum est, quia nostrae voluntatis est, et nostra est merces: primatum autem honoris concupiscere vanitas est. Neque enim apostolus laudem habebit apud Deum quia apostolus fuit, sed si opus apostolatus sui bene implevit. Conversatio ergo melior desideranda est, non dignior gradus. St. Augustine, in chapter xix. De civitate Dei, says that, “the Apostle wished to explain what is meant by the episcopate, for it is a title not of honour but of labour. The Latin word episcopus (from which is derived our word episcopate) is precisely the same word as the Greek episkopos, signifying an overseer or superintendent. Hence he is no true bishop who desires to be placed above others, rather than to be of use to them. We need not disguise the truth, that the episcopate is accompanied by honourable leisure. Nevertheless, it is a sublime post, essential in the government of a people, and so much is required for the due performance of the duties connected with it, that no man possessed of common modesty, could aspire to such an office. For, although the love of truth may seek holy leisure; the necessity of charity accepts fitting employment; and if no one lay this burden upon us, we must devote ourselves to truth, both of perception and study. But if the burthen be imposed upon us, we must accept it as a duty of charity.”St. Chrysostom, commenting on the words in the Gospel of St. Matthew, “the rulers of the Gentiles have dominion over them,” says: “It is well to wish for a good thing, because it be according to our will, and is our reward; but it is vanity to desire a supremacy of honour. The Apostle was not exalted by God because he was an apostle, but because he duly accomplished the work of his apostolate. Worthiness of life is to be desired, not superior dignity.” Est etiam et aliud attendendum, quod religionis status perfectionem non praesupponit, sed ad perfectionem inducit; pontificalis autem dignitas perfectionem praesupponit: qui enim pontificatus honorem suscipit, spirituale magisterium assumit. Unde apostolus dicebat I Tim. II, 7: positus sum ego praedicator et apostolus (veritatem dico, non mentior) doctor gentium in fide et veritate. Ridiculum autem est perfectionis magistrum fieri qui perfectionem per experimentum non novit. Et, sicut Gregorius dicit in pastorali, tantum debet actionem populi actio transcendere praesulis, quantum distare solet a grege vita pastoris. Quae quidem differentia ex verbis domini manifeste colligitur. Cum enim dominus paupertatis consilium daret, his verbis est usus: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus. We must, further, remark that the religious life leads indeed to perfection, but does not presuppose it; whereas the episcopal dignity presupposes perfection. For he who enters the episcopal state takes upon himself the office of a spiritual teacher. As St. Paul says (1 Tim. ii. 7), “I am appointed a preacher, an Apostle (I say the truth, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles, in faith and, truth.” It would be an absurdity to undertake to teach others to be perfect, without previous personal experience of perfection. St. Gregory says in his Pastoral, “The deeds of a bishop ought to surpass those of his flock, as greatly as his life is removed from theirs.” This distinction is clearly expressed by our Lord. For, when He gave the counsel of poverty, He merely said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor.” This shows that the practice of poverty does not presuppose perfection, although it leads men to it. But when He gave St. Peter supremacy over his brethren, He said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And when St. Peter answered: “You know that I love you,” Christ replied, in turn, “Feed my sheep.” Ubi manifeste apparet quod paupertatis assumptio perfectionem non praeexigit, sed ad eam ducit. Cum vero praelationis officium Petro committeret, quaesivit: Simon Ioannis, diligis me plus his? Qui cum responderet, tu scis quia amo te; subiecit: pasce oves meas. Per quod manifeste datur intelligi quod perfectionem caritatis praeexigit assumptio praelationis. Praesumptuosum autem esse videtur ut quis se aestimet esse perfectum: unde apostolus dicit, Philipp. III, 12: non quod iam acceperim, aut iam perfectus sim: et postea subdit: quicumque ergo perfecti sumus, hoc sentiamus. Quod autem aliquis perfectionem desideret, et eam assequi velit, non praesumptionis, sed sanctae aemulationis esse videtur: ad quam apostolus hortatur I ad Cor. XII 31: aemulamini charismata meliora. Et ideo religionis statum assumere, laudabile est; ad praelationis autem fastigium anhelare, est nimiae praesumptionis. Unde Gregorius dicit in pastorali: is qui recusavit praelationis officium, plene non restitit; et is qui mitti voluit, ante se per altaris calculum purgatum vidit: ne aut non purgatus adire quisque sacra mysteria audeat, aut quem superna gratia elegit sub humilitatis specie superbe contradicat. Quia ergo valde difficile est purgatum se quemlibet posse cognoscere, praedicationis officium tutius declinatur. Hence, it is evident, that elevation to the episcopate assumes perfection in the person thus honoured; and that it would be the height of presumption, for any man to consider himself perfect. Even St. Paul says, “Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect” (Philipp. iii. 12). Again, in the same chapter, he adds, “Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded.” To desire perfection, and to strive to follow after it, is not presumption. It is that holy zeal to which St. Paul exhorts us, saying, “Be, therefore, zealous for the better gifts” (1 Cor. xii. 31). Hence, it is praiseworthy to wish to embrace the religious life, although a desire for the episcopate is gross presumption. St. Gregory says, in his Pastoral, “He who has refused a bishopric has not completely resisted it; and he who has willed to be raised to it, has first seen himself cleansed by the stone of the altar.” By these words we are to understand, that a man, chosen for the episcopate, should not absolutely refuse this honour. Nor yet should he aspire to it, unless he knows that he be cleansed in preparation for it. Nor should anyone, who is not thus purified, dare to approach the sacred mysteries. Neither, if he be chosen by divine grace, for this dignity, ought he, through pride disguised as humility, to decline to accept it. But, as it is exceedingly difficult for any man to know whether he be purified or not, the safest course is to decline a bishopric. Est etiam et aliud considerandum: quia statum religionis temporalis abiectio comitatur, e contrario vero statui praelationis multa bona temporalia adiunguntur. Qui ergo religionis statum assumunt, manifeste demonstrant se temporalia bona non quaerere, sed per eorum abiectionem ad bona spiritualia tendunt; qui vero pontificalem dignitatem assumunt, plerumque magis temporalia bona considerant quam aeterna. Unde Gregorius dicit in pastorali: tunc fuit laudabile episcopatum quaerere quando per hunc quemque dubium non erat ad supplicia graviora pervenire; et postea subdit: sacrum quippe officium non diligit omnino, sed nescit, qui ad culmen regiminis anhelans in occulta meditatione cogitationis ceterorum subiectione pascitur, laude propria laetatur, ad honorem cor elevat, rerum affluentium abundantia exsultat. Mundi ergo lucrum quaeritur sub eius honoris specie quo mundi destrui lucra debuerunt. Another point must be considered in our comparison between the religious and episcopal state The religious life implies a renunciation of earthly possessions; whereas a bishopric is accompanied by great additional wealth. They who become religious give up all they possess, thus showing that they seek not temporal but spiritual goods. They who undertake the episcopal office are frequently wont to think more of temporal, than of eternal riches. St. Gregory says in his Pastoral, “that the truly praiseworthy condition under which to accept a bishopric, would be, if a man were to know, as a certainty, that such an office would inv be severe torture.” Again, he says, “It is not every man who loves the sanctity of the episcopal office. But that sanctity is completely ignored by those, who, aspiring to such a dignity, are entranced by the idea of having others subject to them, are rejoiced at the thought of being praised, set their hearts on being honoured, and rejoice at the prospect of affluence. In such a case as that, men are coveting worldly advancement under the disguise of an office, in which it is their duty to try to extirpate earthly ambition.” Est et aliud advertendum: quod qui praelationis statum assumit, multis periculis se exponit. Dicit enim Gregorius in pastorali: plerumque in occupatione regiminis ipse quoque boni operis usus perditur, qui in tranquillitate tenebatur: quia quieto mari recte navim et imperitus dirigit, turbato autem tempestatis fluctibus etiam peritus se nauta confundit. Quid namque est potestas culminis nisi tempestas mentis, in qua cogitationum semper procellis navis cordis quatitur, huc illuc et incessanter impellitur, ut per repentinos excessus oris et operis quasi per obviantia saxa frangatur. Cuius periculi exemplum in David apparet, qui, ut Gregorius dicit, David actoris iudicio pene in cunctis actibus placens, ut pressurae pondere caruit, in tumore vulneris erupit, factusque est in morte viri crudeliter rigidus qui in appetitu feminae fuit enerviter fluxus: prius perire deprehensum persecutorem noluit, et post cum damno exercitus devotum militem extinxit. Again, we must remember that bishops are exposed to many risks. We may, on this point, again quote St. Gregory. He writes in his Pastoral, “It often happens that in the office of governing, others, a man loses the habit of good works, which he practised in private life. For on a calm sea, even an inexperienced seaman can steer a vessel; whereas, in a gale, the most experienced mariner may lose his bearings. And may not a position of great power be fitly compared to a tempest of the mind, where the heart is incessantly rocked to and fro by waves of thought, to be dashed to pieces (as by rocks) by some sudden excess of word or deed?” David is quoted by St. Gregory as an example of the dangers to which men in an exalted position are exposed. “David,” he says, “whose every act was pleasing in the sight of the Supreme Judge, became, after he was raised to kingly magnificence, puffed up with pride, and so cruelly hardened, as to cause the death of a man. He, who, in former times, refused to slay his captured enemy, was, in his later days, so led away by his desire for a woman, that, to the detriment of his, own army, he artfully caused the death of a most loyal soldier.” Qui autem statum religionis assumit, pericula peccati vitat. Unde Ieronymus dicit ex persona monachi loquens in epistola contra Vigilantium: ego cum fugero, mundum scilicet, non vincor in eo quod fugio, sed ideo fugio ne vincar. Nulla securitas est vicino serpente dormire: potest fieri ut me non mordeat, tamen potest fieri ut aliquando me mordeat. Quod igitur aliquis pericula peccati evitans religionis statum assumat, prudentiae est. Quod vero sponte ad praelationis statum aspiret: vel nimiae praesumptionis est, si se tam fortem esse aestimat ut inter pericula possit manere securus; vel omnino suae salutis curam non habens, si peccata vitare non curat. Ex his igitur apparet quod praelationis status, etsi perfectio sit, tamen absque vitio concupisci non potest. He who embraces the religious life escapes the danger of sin. Hence St. Jerome, speaking in the person of a monk, writes in his Epistle against Vigilantius, “When I forsake the world, I shall not be overcome, because I have fled it; but I shall flee from it, lest by it I should be overcome. There is no security in sleeping near a serpent; for, though perchance it may not molest me, it may on the other hand inflict on me a grievous wound. Thus, it is an act of prudence to enter religious life, in order to avoid the occasions of sin. But he who aspires to the episcopate, has either the extreme presumption to consider that he will be safe in the midst of dangers, or else he is so heedless of his salvation, that he cares not to escape from the occasions of sinning.” Hence, we must conclude, that, although the episcopal office be a state of perfection, it cannot, without the sin of covetousness, be desired.
Utrum presbyteri et archidiaconi sint in statu perfectiori quam religiosi
Arguments Used by Certain Men to Prove That Parish Priests and Archdeacons Are in A State of Higher Perfection Than Are Religious.
Answers to These Arguments
Sunt autem quidam qui non solum episcoporum statum praeferre religiosorum statui sunt contenti, sed etiam decanorum, plebanorum, archidiaconorum et quorumcumque curam habentium animarum. Quod multipliciter asserere conantur. THERE are certain men, who, not content with teaching that the episcopate is a condition of superior perfection to the religious life, also maintain that deans, parish priests, archdeacons, and all others entrusted with the care of souls, are in a more perfect state than are religious. They base their arguments on various grounds. Dicit enim Chrysostomus in 6 libro sui dialogi: si talem mihi aliquem adducas monachum, qualis, ut secundum exaggerationem dicam Elias, tamen quandiu solus est, si non perturbatur neque graviter peccat, quippe qui non habet quibus stimuletur atque exasperetur; non tamen illi comparandus est qui traditus populis, et multorum ferre peccata compulsus, immobilis perseveravit et fortis. Ex quo manifeste videtur quod monachus, quantumcumque perfectus, adaequari non possit cuicumque curam animarum habenti, si eam bene exerceat. Adhuc. Ibidem postmodum subditur: si quis mihi proponeret optionem ubi mallem placere, in officio sacerdotali, an in solitudine monachorum; sine comparatione eligerem illud quod prius dixi. Incomparabiliter igitur praeferendus est status curam animarum habentium quam vivere etiam in solitudine monachorum, quod genus religionis perfectissimum reputatur. 1. First, they quote the following words of St. Chrysostom. (Dialogue, lib. VT). “Let any man show me a monk resembling even Elijah, and let us grant that this monk, living alone, without annoyance or vexation of any kind, is not troubled by temptation, and does not fall into grave sin. I tell you, nevertheless, that such a man is not to be compared to one, who, although the minister of the people, and laden with the sins of men, perseveres with energy and fidelity.” These words naturally convey the impression that no monk, howsoever perfect he may be, can bear comparison with a priest who is entrusted with the cure of souls, and who discharges his trust with diligence. Again, St. Chrysostom says, “Were I given my choice as to whether I would prefer to serve God in the functions of the priesthood, or in monastic solitude, I should, without hesitation, choose the first of these conditions.” Hence the cure of souls is, indubitably, to be preferred to religious solitude, which is reckoned as the most perfect state of life. Item. Augustinus dicit in epistola ad Valerium: cogitet religiosa prudentia tua nihil esse in hac vita, et maxime hoc tempore, facilius et laetius et hominibus acceptabilius episcopi aut presbyteri aut diaconi officio; sed si perfunctorie atque adulatorie res agatur, nihil apud Deum miserius et tristius et damnabilius. 2. Again, St. Augustine, in his epistle to Valerius, says, “Do thou, in your religious prudence, mark well the following truth. Of all things in the world, especially in our days, there is nothing so easy, so pleasant, so attractive to human nature, as to be a perfunctory and time-serving bishop, priest, or deacon. Yet, in the eyes of God, no sight is so execrable, so sad, or so worthy of condemnation, as these sacred offices fulfilled in such a manner. Item, nihil esse in hac vita, maxime hoc tempore, difficilius, laboriosius, periculosius episcopi aut presbyteri aut diaconi officio; sed apud Deum nihil beatius, si eo modo militetur quo noster imperator iubet. Non ergo religionis status est perfectior statu presbyterorum aut diaconorum, qui curas animarum habent, ad quorum officium pertinet conversari cum hominibus. 3. On the other hand, there is nothing in life, especially in our days, more difficult, more laborious or more beset by danger, than is the office of bishop, priest, or deacon. Yet, in the eyes of God, no one presents a more glorious spectacle, than he who, in such an office, fights manfully, according to the precepts of our Sovereign Master.” Hence, the religious life is not a more perfect state than is that of priests or deacons, who have the cure of souls, and whose duty it is to mingle with men. Praeterea. Augustinus dicit ad Aurelium: nimis dolendum est, si ad tam ruinosam superbiam monachos subrigimus, et tam gravi contumelia clericos dignos putamus, in quorum numero sumus, si scilicet vulgares de nobis iocabuntur, dicentes: malus monachus, bonus clericus est: cum aliquando bonus etiam monachus vix bonum clericum faciat. Maior ergo est perfectio boni clerici quam boni monaci. 4. Again, St. Augustine says to Aurelius, “It is, indeed, lamentable, if we puff monks up with pride, and decry the dignity of the clergy, to whose order we belong. Shall we suffer ignorant people to say of us: ‘a bad monk will make a good cleric,’ when as we know that even a good monk is not always a good cleric?” The perfection of a good cleric is, therefore, greater than is that of a good monk. Item. Paulo ante dicit: non est via danda servis Dei, idest monachis, ut se facilius putent eligi ad aliquod melius, idest ad officium clericatus, si facti fuerint deteriores, monasterium scilicet deserendo. Melius est ergo officium clericatus quam status monasticus. Item. Hieronymus dicit ad rusticum monachum: sic vive in monasterio ut clericus esse merearis. Maius est ergo clericatus officium quam monachi conversatio. 5. The same Saint had previously written, “We must not open a way to the servants of God (i.e., to monks), whereby they may think that it may be easier for them to be chosen for some better office (i.e., for some clerical post), if, by such a step, leaving their monastery they should grow worse.” The clerical office is, consequently, better than the monastic state. In the same spirit St. Jerome writes to Rusticus, “So live in your monastery, that you may deserve to be made a cleric.” The clerical office is, therefore, superior to the monastic life. Praeterea. Non licet de maiori ad minus transire. Sed de statu monastico licet transire ad officium presbyteri curam habentis, ut dicit Gelasius Papa, et habetur 16, quaest. I: si quis monachus fuerit qui venerabilis vitae merito sacerdotio dignus praevideatur; et abbas, sub cuius imperio regi Christo militat, illum fieri presbyterum petierit ab episcopo, debet eligi, et in loco quo iudicaverit ordinari, omnia quae ad sacerdotii officium pertinent, vel populi vel episcopi electione provide ac iuste acturus. Et plura alia capitula ibidem ponuntur, et dist. XXVII. Ex his igitur omnibus videtur quod status quorumcumque clericorum, et maxime curam animarum habentium, religionis statui praeferatur. 6. Again, it is not permissible to pass from a higher to a lower state. Nevertheless, it is lawful to pass from the monastic life to that of a cleric, entrusted with the cure of souls. We learn this fact from the words of Pope Gelasius (XVI. question I), “If there be any monk, who, by virtue of his holy life, should seem worthy to be raised to the priesthood, and if the abbot, under whose rule such a monk is fighting in the army of Christ, should beg this favour for him from the bishop, that monk ought to be chosen. Further a monk so elected, whether by the bishop or the people, must discreetly and uprightly fulfil all the duties of the priesthood in the place wherein it shall have seemed good to ordain him.” Several other rules about the same matter are laid down in this chapter and in dist. 47. Hence, it is plain to all men, that the state of any clerics, and especially of such as have the care of souls, is superior to the religious life. Horum autem dictorum ratio de facili percipi potest, si ea quae praedicta sunt, ad memoriam revocentur. Iam enim supra dictum est, aliud esse perfectionis actum, atque aliud perfectionis statum. Nam perfectionis statum non efficit nisi perpetua obligatio ad ea quae ad perfectionem spectant, sine qua obligatione plurimi perfectionis opera exequuntur, puta qui nullo voto facto continentiam servant aut in paupertate vivunt. Now the reasons for these propositions will be easily perceived, if we recall to mind (what has already been said. We have seen that a perfect work is one thing, and a perfect state another. The state of perfection does nothing save impose perpetual obligation of accomplishing those things which pertain to perfection. Now, many accomplish the works of perfection, without any vow; thus, many observe continence and practise poverty. Rursusque considerandum est quod in presbyteris et diaconibus curam animarum habentibus duo sunt consideranda: scilicet officium curae et dignitas ordinis. Manifestum est autem quod officium curae suscipientes perpetuam obligationem non habent, cum multotiens curam susceptam dimittant, sicut patet de illis qui dimittunt parochias vel archidiaconatus et religionem intrant. Patet autem ex supra dictis quod status perfectionis non habetur nisi cum perpetua obligatione. Manifestum est igitur quod archidiaconi et parochiales sacerdotes, et etiam electi, ante consecrationem, statum perfectionis nondum sunt adepti, sicut nec novitii in religionibus ante professionem. We must also remember that, in speaking of priests and archdeacons charged with the cure of souls, two points must be taken into consideration, to wit, the office of the cure of souls, and the dignity of their orders. Now, as parish priests and archdeacons often leave their parishes and archidiaconates to go into religion, it is clear, that, by accepting the cure of souls, they do not contract any perpetual obligation. But, from what has been already said, we know that no state of perfection can exist without a perpetual obligation. Hence, we cannot say that archdeacons, or parish priests, or candidates for ordination, have embraced a state of perfection, any more than we can say that novices, before their profession, have embraced this state. Contingit autem, ut supra dictum est, aliquem non in perfectionis statu existentem opera perfectionis agere, et perfectum esse secundum habitum caritatis. Sic igitur contingit archidiaconos vel parochiales (presbyteros) perfectos esse secundum habitum caritatis, et participare in aliquo perfectionis officio, statum tamen perfectionis non assequuntur. Huius autem evidens signum est, quia his qui perpetuo ad aliquid deputantur vel obligantur, aliqua ecclesiastica solemnitas in tali obligatione adhibetur; puta qui in episcopos consecrantur vel qui in professione religionis benedicuntur, etiam secundum antiquum Ecclesiae ritum, ut patet per Dionysium in Lib. de Ecclesiast. Hierarch., cap. 6. Manifestum est autem quod nihil horum fit in commissione archidiaconatus vel parochiae; sed simpliciter investiuntur, vel per anulum, vel per aliquid tale. Unde manifestum est quod ex hoc quod aliquis archidiaconatum vel curam parochiae accipit, non sortitur perpetuae obligationis statum. His igitur visis, facile est obiecta in contrarium solvere. It may, however, happen, as we have already observed, that a man who does not live in a state of perfection may perform works of perfection, and may be perfect according to the habit of charity. Thus, archdeacons and parish priests may be perfect according to the habit of charity, and may share in certain offices of perfection, although they are not living in a perfect state. A token that they are not living in a state of perfection lies in the fact that, when a man is deputed to, or bound in perpetuity to, some office, this obligation is imposed upon him with the accompaniment of some ecclesiastical solemnity. For instance, bishops are consecrated, and religious received to profession by an ancient rite of the Church, as Dionysius observes (de Eclesiast. Hierarch. cap. VI.). Nothing of the sort, however, takes place at the election of an archdeacon or parish priest He is invested, merely, with a ring, or some other symbol of the same description. Hence it is clear that no archdeacon, or parish priest embraces a state implying perpetual obligation. This conclusion will enable us easily to answer the arguments wherewith this chapter began. Quod enim Chrysostomus dicit: si talem aliquem adducas monachum, qualis fuit Elias, non tamen illi comparandus est qui multorum peccata ferre compellitur: manifeste apparet per ea quae dicit, quod non intendit statum statui comparare, sed ostendere difficultatem bene persistendi maiorem esse in eo qui praeest populis, quam in eo qui solitariam vitam ducit: quod patet, si integre verba accipiantur. Non enim simpliciter dicit quod monachus non sit comparandus ei qui compellitur peccata populi ferre; sed quod monachus, si non perturbatur, nec graviter peccat quamdiu solus est, non comparatur illi qui perseverat immobilis et fortis in multitudine populi: quia maioris virtutis est illaesum se conservare ubi plura pericula imminent. Unde et ante haec verba dicit: cum aliquis fuerit in mediis fluctibus, et de tempestate navem liberare potuerit, tunc merito testimonium perfecti gubernatoris ab omnibus promeretur. Sic enim etiam dici posset quod ille qui inter malos bene conversatur, maioris virtutis esse ostenditur quam qui bene conversatur inter bonos; unde in laudem Lot dicitur II Petr. II, 8, quod aspectu et auditu iustus erat, habitans apud eos qui de die in diem animam iustam iniquis operibus cruciabant. Nec tamen dici potest quod conversari inter malos ad statum perfectionis pertineat; cum secundum sacrae Scripturae documenta prudentius declinetur. Ex his ergo verbis non ostenditur quod status habentium curam animarum sit perfectior quam status religiosorum, sed quod sit periculosior. Ad 1. When St. Chrysostom says, “Even if you can show me a monk, who vies with Elias in holiness, he is not to be compared to a priest who is compelled to bear the sins of his people,” it is clear that the Saint is not drawing a comparison. between the priesthood and the religious state. He only wishes (as we shall see if we read the context of the words) to point out that the difficulty of perseverance in virtue, is far greater for one set over a flock, than for a monk in solitude. St. Chrysostom does not say absolutely, that a monk is not to be compared to a priest who bears the sine of his people upon his shoulders. What he says, is, that the perseverance of a monk, who, living a solitary life, is not tempted, and does not fall into grievous sin, is not to be compared to the constancy of a priest who perseveres, with valour and fidelity, though surrounded on all sides by his people. The courage of self-defence is chiefly shown in positions of great danger. Hence, St. Chrysostom prefaces the remark which we have quoted, by saying, “The mariner who is able to save his vessel when she is in danger of being submerged by a tempest, is deservedly held by. all men to be an experienced seaman.” In the same manner we may say, that he who is able to live uprightly in the midst of bad men, gives proof of greater virtue than he who leads a worthy life amongst good men. Hence, St. Peter says, in praise of Lot (2 Pet. ii. 8), that “in sight and hearing he was just: dwelling among them, who, from day to day, vexed the just soul with unjust works.” But we cannot say, that to live among wicked men belongs to the state of perfection, since, according to the teaching of the Holy Scripture, prudence instructs us to shun their company. We see, then, that the state of priests, charged with the care of souls, is not more perfect; but that it is more exposed to danger, than is that of religious. Per hoc etiam patet responsio ad verba eiusdem, quae postmodum subduntur: si quis, inquit, mihi proponeret optionem, ubi mallem placere, in officio sacerdotali, an in solitudine monachorum; sine comparatione eligerem illud quod prius dixi, scilicet placere in officio sacerdotali. Ubi considerandum est, quod non dicit quod mallet esse in officio sacerdotali quam in solitudine monachorum; sed quod mallet placere ibi quam hic; placere enim in sacerdotali officio est in sacerdotali officio absque peccato permanere, quod difficilius est quam absque peccato esse in solitudine monachorum, sicut iam supra dixerat. Ubi autem est maius periculum, ibi maior virtus ostenditur, si periculum vitetur, sicut iam dictum est. Et quamvis quilibet sapiens magis eligeret esse tantae virtutis ut etiam inter pericula quaecumque illaesus posset persistere, nullus tamen nisi insipiens statum periculosiorem ex hoc ipso statui securiori praeferret. Ex hoc etiam apparet solutio ad verba Augustini quibus asseritur, nihil esse periculosius et laboriosius officio episcopi, sacerdotis et diaconi, si bene exerceatur, et nihil esse Deo acceptabilius. Ex hoc enim ipso quod est laboriosum et difficile, immunem se a peccato conservare in huius officii executione maioris virtutis esse ostenditur, et secundum hoc Deo acceptabilius. Non tamen ex hoc sequitur quod status sacerdotum parochialium aut archidiaconorum sit maioris perfectionis quam status religionis. Ad 2-4. This gives us the key to those other words of St. Chrysostom which were quoted above, “If I were given my choice of pleasing God in the performance of the duties of the priesthood, or in monastic solitude, I should unhesitatingly choose to please Him in the priestly office.” The Saint does not say that he would rather be a priest than a monk, but that he would prefer to please God rather as a priest than as a monk. For, it is more difficult to avoid sin in the performance of the sacerdotal functions, than in the solitude of a monastery. As we have before said, the greater the perils which we encounter, the greater the virtue that we exhibit. But, although a wise man must desire that his virtue were so solid as to remain intact in the midst of danger, no one but a fool would, on account of its danger, prefer a perilous position to one more secure. St. Augustine, in words already cited, points out that no duties can be more laborious and more beset by danger, than are those of bishops, priests, and deacons; though, if these duties be rightly performed they are the most agreeable offering that can be made to God. It is because it is so difficult to avoid sin in the episcopate or priesthood, that a virtuous bishop or priest is so acceptable to God. This, however, does not prove that the state of parish priests or archdeacons, is one of higher perfection than is that of religious. Ad omnia vero quae subsequuntur et si qua sunt similia, est una eademque responsio. Nam in omnibus illis auctoritatibus non comparatur status religionis statui curatorum; sed status monachorum, inquantum sunt monachi, statui clericorum. Non enim monachi ex hoc quod sunt monachi, sunt clerici, cum multi sint monachi laici; et antiquis temporibus fere omnes monachi laici erant, ut habetur 16, quaest. I. Manifestum est autem clericos in Ecclesia Dei maiorem gradum obtinere quam laicos. Unde laici promoventur ad clericatum tanquam ad aliquid maius; et sicut est maior gradus, ita etiam amplior virtus requiritur ad bonum clericum quam ad bonum laicum, quamvis monachum. Sed in monacho clerico duo concurrunt; et clericatus et status religionis; similiter in clerico habente curam animarum: duo concurrunt, scilicet cura animarum et clericatus. Quod ergo clerici praeferuntur monachis, nihil pertinet ad hoc quod curati inquantum curati monachis praeferantur; sed verum est quod si bene officium suum exequantur et absque peccato, maioris virtutis esse demonstrantur quam si monachus immunis a peccato permaneat, ut supra dictum est. Quod autem monachus assumitur ad curam animarum etiam in parochialibus Ecclesiis, non ostendit, statum curati, ex hoc quod est curatus, esse perfectiorem; quia religiosus parochiam adeptus statum pristinum non amittit. Dicitur enim 14, quaest. I: de monachis qui diu morantes in monasteriis, si postea ad clericatus ordines pervenerint, statuimus eos non debere a priori proposito discedere. Sic ergo non ostenditur quod status clerici habentis curam animarum sit perfectior quam status religionis; quamvis religiosi curam animarum accipere possint in priori statu et proposito permanentes. Ad episcopatum autem promoti, statum altiorem assumunt. To all the arguments which follow those which we have been answering, there is but one reply which is the same for all. In the quotations given above, the authors cited do not compare the religious state to the state of parish priests, but the state of monks, as monks, to the clerical state. For monks are not necessarily clerics. There are multitudes of lay brethren. Indeed, in former days almost all monks were laymen (cf. XVI, quest. I). It is plain that the clergy occupy a higher position in the Church than do laymen. Hence, when a layman is chosen for the priesthood, he is promoted to a superior rank than that which he already holds; and, as he ascends to a higher position, he naturally requires more virtue to be a good cleric than to be a good layman, although, as a layman, he was a monk. But a monk who becomes a priest, is, at the same time, both in the clerical and in the religious state; just as a priest who has the care of souls is invested with both the pastorate and the priesthood. When, therefore, parish priests are said to be in a superior position to monks, it does not mean, that, regarded merely as parish priests, they are superior to monks. It means, that if they perform their duties well, and live without sin, they give proof, as we have already said, of a greater degree of virtue, than does a monk who lives innocently in his monastery. But if a religious be entrusted with the care of souls in a parish church, this does not prove that the state of parish priests, as parish priests, is more perfect than is that of religious. For the religious who takes charge of a parish is not, on that account, released from his religious life. In Gratian, XIV, Quest. I, De monachis, we find the following words: “We ordain that they, who after living long in monasteries, are enrolled among the clergy, are not, for that reason, to quit their former life.” Hence, there is no proof, that the state of a priest entrusted with the cure of souls, is more perfect than is that of a religious; for, religious may accept this same office while remaining in their orders. They, however, who are promoted to the episcopate, ascend to a higher position.
Rationes ad ostendendum quod presbyteri curati sunt in statu maioris perfectionis quam religiosi
Other Arguments Used to Overthrow the Conclusion At Which We Have Arrived
Verum quidam contentionis studio exagitati, neque quae dicunt neque quae audiunt, debite ponderantes, adhuc conantur praedictis contradicentes obviare: quorum assertiones postquam praemissa conscripseram, ad me pervenerunt. Ad quorum confutationem, necesse est aliqua ex supra positis replicare. AFTER I had finished writing that upon which I have just been engaged, certain objections to my arguments came to my ears made by men who are too fond of disputing, to bestow much reflection either upon what they say or what they hear. In order to confute their arguments, I must return to what has already been said. Primo quidem igitur multipliciter nituntur ostendere archidiaconos vel parochiales presbyteros in statu perfectionis esse, et maioris quam religiosi. Presbyter enim si delinquat, iubetur eiici de statu suo secundum canones, ut habetur 81 distin.: si quis amodo episcopus, et 14, quaest. 4: si quis oblitus. Ergo erat in statu; alioquin a statu eiici non posset. 1. First, these objectors endeavour to prove, by divers arguments, that archdeacons and parish priests are in a higher and more perfect state than are religious. For, if a priest fall into sin, he is ordered by the Canons to be deposed from his state (cf. Gratian, LXXXI, distinction: “Si quis amodo episcopus” and XIV. Quest. IV: “Si quis oblitus”). Hence he must have been in a certain state, or he could not be deposed from it. Item, invenitur status multipliciter dici. Importat enim rectitudinem: nam homo erectus dicitur stare. Unde Gregorius dicit in VII Moralium: ab omni statu rectitudinis dispereunt qui per noxia verba dilabuntur. Importat etiam permanentiam et fixionem, secundum illud Gregorii in 8 Moral.: conditoris protectio et custodia est, quod in statu permanemus. Et in 9 Homil. secundae partis super Ezech.: lapis quadrus est, et quasi ex omni latere statum habet, qui casum in aliqua permutatione non habet. Importat etiam magnitudinem vel longitudinem: dicitur enim a stando. Cum igitur archidiaconi et parochiales presbyteri habeant magnitudinem spiritualem, dum propter zelum animarum curam suscipiunt; habeant etiam permanentiam, quia inter pericula immobiles perseverant et fortes; habeant etiam rectitudinem et intentionis et iustitiae: non est dicendum, huiusmodi in statu non esse. 2. Now a state can be used in a threefold signification. First, it implies uprightness of life; the elect are spoken of as “standing in justice.” St. Gregory says (VII. Moral.), “They who sin by mischievous words, fall from the state of rectitude.” Again, a state conveys an idea of permanence and, stability, as we see from the words of St. Gregory (VIII. Moral.), “It is the care and protection of our Creator that keeps us in a state of being.”Again, in the ninth Homily (2nd part) on Ezechiel, “A stone is square; and, by means of each of its four sides, it is kept in such a state, that it will not fall, howsoever its position may be altered.” State (derived from stare and stando) also signifies greatness or length. Now archdeacons and parish priests have a certain spiritual greatness, since, on account of their zeal, they undertake the cure of souls. They, likewise, give proofs of stability, for they remain firm and constant in the midst of dangers. They are further upright in intention, and just in their dealings. Why, then, should we deny that they are in a state of perfection. Item, religionum institutio praeiudicare non potuit diaconibus et presbyteris curam animarum habentibus. Sed ante institutas religiones praedicti curam animarum habentes statum perfectionis tenebant: dicitur enim I Tim. V, 17: qui bene praesunt presbyteri, scilicet vita et doctrina, digni habeantur a subditis duplici honore; ut scilicet eis spiritualiter obediant, et exteriora ministrent. Ergo etiam post religiones institutas habent statum perfectionis. 3. [Again, the establishment of religious orders cannot be to the detriment of deacons and priests who have charge of souls. But before religious orders were founded, those in charge of souls were in the state of percection.] Thus, St. Paul writes to Timothy (1 Ep. v. 17), “Let the priests who rule well,” to wit by good life and doctrine, “be esteemed worthy of a double honour”; let them, that is to say, be obeyed in spiritual matters, and be provided for in their temporal wants. If, then, before the existence of religious orders, priests were in a state of perfection, the same must also be the case since the religious life has been established. Item. Dicunt, quod tempore Hieronymi presbyter et episcopus erant nomina synonima, ut patet per illud quod dicit Hieronymus super epistolam ad Titum: olim idem presbyter qui et episcopus. Sed postea in toto orbe decretum est ut unus de presbyteris praeponeretur, et schismatum semina tollerentur. Si ergo episcopi sunt in statu perfectiori quam religiosi, etiam presbyteri in statu perfectiori erunt. 4. It is further said, that in the days of St. Jerome, the titles bishops and priests were synonymous. The following words of this Saint (super Epist. ad Titum) are quoted in proof of this assertion: “Formerly bishop and priest were one and the same, but now, it is decreed throughout the whole world, that one man should be set over priests, in order that the seeds of schism may be extirpated.” If, then, the episcopate be a state of greater perfection than the religious life, why is not the priesthood, likewise, a state of greater perfection? Item. Qui ad maius et dignius et fructuosius officium Ecclesiae assumitur, in maiori statu esse videtur. Sed archidiaconi et presbyteri curati assumuntur ad dignius officium quam religiosi; quia licet vita contemplativa sit magis secura, tamen vita activa est magis fructifera, ut habetur Extra. de renuntiationibus. Presbyteri igitur curati, sunt in maiori statu perfectionis quam religiosi. 5. Again, the more sublime and important the ecclesiastical office to which a man is appointed, the higher his state is accounted. Now, archdeacons and parish priests exercise a more exalted office than do religious. For, although the contemplative life be the safer, the active life is by far the more fruitful of the two (cf. Gratian, Extra de renuntiatione: Nisi cum pridem). It follows therefore, that parish priests are in a state of greater perfection than is the case with religious. Item. Nulla maior caritas esse potest quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis, ut dicitur Ioan. XV, 13. Boni autem curati animam suam ponunt pro suis subditis, quorum etiam se servos constituunt, secundum illud I Cor. IX, 19: cum liber essem ex omnibus, omnium me servum feci. Videntur etiam plus mereri, cum plus laborent, secundum illud apostoli I Cor. XV, 10: plus omnibus laboravi: et I ad Cor. III 8: unusquisque mercedem accipiet secundum suum laborem. Videtur igitur quod curati presbyteri sint in perfectiori statu quam religiosi. 6. Further, our Lord says, “Greater love than this has no man, that a man lay down his life for his friend” (John xv. 13). Now, good parish priests do sacrifice their lives for their flocks, and make themselves the servants of their people. In this they imitate St. Paul, who says (1 Cor. ix. 19), “For, whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all.”It would seem, then, that theirs must be the greater merit, since theirs is the severer toil. “I have laboured more abundantly than all they,” says St. Paul (1 Cor. xv. 15). And again he writes, “Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour “(1 Cor., iii. 8). Hence, parish priests should be regarded as in a more perfect state than religious. Item, videtur hoc idem et de archidiaconis. Septem enim diacones quos elegerunt apostoli, erant in excellenti statu perfectionis. Dicitur enim Act. VI, 3: considerate, fratres, viros boni testimonii septem, plenos spiritu sancto et sapientia, quos constituamus super hoc opus: ubi dicit Glossa Bedae: hic decernebant apostoli per Ecclesias constitui septem diacones, qui essent sublimioris gradus et quasi columnae proximi circa aram. Videtur autem eos in statu perfectionis fuisse qui sublimioris gradus erant ceteris, et quasi columnae Ecclesiae onera supportantes. Horum autem gradum repraesentant in Ecclesia archidiaconi, qui ministrant et praesunt ministrantibus, secundum Glossam ibidem. Videtur ergo quod archidiaconi sint in maiori statu perfectionis quam presbyteri curati, quibus praeficiuntur; et ita per consequens etiam quam religiosi. 7. The same must be said of archdeacons; for the seven deacons elected by the Apostles were in a state of eminent perfection. We are told (Acts vi. 3), “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of good repute, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” On which words Venerable Bede says in his Gloss, “The Apostles designed that the Churches should establish seven deacons, who should be in a superior position to others, and who should stand round the altar, like columns.” If they were to be superior to others, and if they were to be set apart as columns round the altar, they must have been in a state of perfection. Now, according to the Gloss of Ven. Bede, their representatives are the archdeacons, who themselves minister, and who also superintend the ministry of others. Hence, it would appear that archdeacons are in a state of higher perfection than are the parish priests, over whom they are set; and that they are, consequently, in a more perfect state than are religious. Item, insanum esse videtur dicere beatos Stephanum, Laurentium et Vincentium archidiaconos in statu perfectionis non fuisse, qui ad palmam martyrii meruerunt pervenire. 8.It would be absurd to say that the holy martyrs and deacons Lawrence and Vincent were not in a state of perfection. Item. Presbyteri curati et archidiaconi similiores sunt episcopis quam monachi, quiquam vel religiosi, qui tenent infimum subiectionis gradum; intantum quod presbyteri episcopi nominentur secundum illud Act. XX, 28: attendite vobis, et universo gregi, in quo posuit vos spiritus sanctus episcopos regere Ecclesiam Dei; quod exponit Glossa de presbyteris Ephesi. Multo igitur magis presbyteri curati sunt in statu perfectionis. 9. Parish priests, then, and archdeacons resemble bishops, rather than monks and religious, who are in the lowest rank of subjection. Hence, priests are sometimes called by the name of bishops as appears from Acts xx., “Take heed to yourselves and to t he whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost has placed you bishops, to rule the church of God.”These words are considered by the Gloss to have been addressed to the priests of Ephesus. This is, consequently, a still further proof that parish priests are in a state of perfection. Item. Administratio facultatum Ecclesiae statum perfectionis non minuit, cum sint bona communia, ut habetur 12, quaest. I, cap. expedit. Non ergo presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi deficiunt a statu perfectionis propter administrationem rerum Ecclesiae. 10. Again, as we know from Gratian, XII. quest. I, cap. Expdit, that the administration of the goods of the Church is not detrimental to the state of perfection, since these goods are common property it is clear that neither parish priests nor archdeacons fail in perfection, because they have the management of ecclesiastical revenues. Item. Presbyteri curati et archidiaconi de bonis temporalibus tenentur facere hospitalitatem, ut habetur XLII dist. cap. I. Hoc autem monachus non potest facere, quia non habet proprium. Maioris ergo meriti est presbyter curatus quam monachus. 11. Furthermore, both parish priests and archdeacons are bound to exercise hospitality (cf. Gratian, XLII, distinct cap. I), which a monk cannot do, as he possesses nothing of his own. Therefore, a parish priest gains more merit than does a monk. Item, Gregorius dicit: nullum est sacrificium quod ita placeat Deo sicut zelus animarum: et Bernardus dicit de amore Dei, quod ille maior est in amore Dei qui plures ad amorem Dei trahit. Hoc autem convenit archidiacono et presbytero curato, non autem monacho, cuius non est officium ut aliquem trahat. 12. St. Gregory says that, “there is no sacrifice so agreeable to God as zeal for souls.” St. Bernard, likewise, in his book De amore Dei, says that, “the love of God is strongest in him who draws most souls to God.” This saying applies to an archdeacon, or parish priest, but not to a monk, who has no duty of leading souls to God. Item. Sicut patriarcha praesidet in suo patriarchatu et episcopus in suo episcopatu; ita archidiaconus in suo archidiaconatu et presbyter curatus in sua parochia. Quid enim facit episcopus, excepta ordinatione, quod presbyter curatus non faciat?, Ut habetur dist. XCIII Ca. legimus. Et quaecumque dicuntur de episcopo, seu ordinando in episcopum secundum XIII capitula apostolicae regulae, omnia debent intelligi de quolibet electo ad quamlibet praelationem, ut presbytero curato et archidiacono, ut habetur 81 dist., cap. I. Si ergo episcopus est in perfectiori statu quam monachus, pari ratione etiam presbyter curatus, et archidiaconus. 13. Further, a patriarch rules in his patriarchate, and a bishop in his see. In the same manner, an archdeacon governs in his archidiaconate; and a parish priest in his parish. But what (with the exception of ordinations) does a bishop do that a parish priest does not likewise do? (cf. Gratian, dist. XCIII. cap. Legiraus). All that is said, according to the fourteen Apostolic rules, about bishops or bishops elect, is equally applicable to parish priests and archdeacons (Gratian, LXXXI, dist. cap. I.). If, then, a bishop be in a state of greater perfection than a monk, the same fact must be true of a parish priest, and also of an archdeacon. Item. Presbyter vel diaconus propter delictum iubetur eici de statu, et retrudi in monasterium ad agendum poenitentiam, ut habetur 81 distinct., cap. dictum est, et cap. si quis clericus. Ex quo videtur quod status archidiaconatus sive curae parochialis vere status est; sed ingressus religionis non est status, sed potius casus, vel descensus. 14. Again, it is appointed (Gratian, LXXXI, dist. cap. Dictum est, et cap. Si quis clericus), that a lapsed priest or deacon is to be banished from his office, and imprisoned in a monastery, to do penance. Hence, it would appear as though the condition of an archdeacon or parish priest is truly to be called a state; where entrance into religion is not a state but rather a degradation or downfall. Haec igitur sunt quae ex eorum scriptis colligi possunt, quamvis non eodem ordine ibidem ponantur. These are the chief objections, though placed in a somewhat different order, which I have been able to gather from the writings of those who argue against me. Rationes ad ostendendum quod non oportet quod presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi non sint in statu perfectionis quia non consequuntur in sui institutione aliquam benedictionem vel consecrationem. Reasons why parish priests and archdeacons should not be in a state of perfection because they do not receive any blessing or consecration when they are given these posts Sed quia supra ostensum est archidiaconos et presbyteros curatos in statu perfectionis non esse, restat videndum qualiter ipsas probationes conentur elidere. Dictum est enim supra quod quilibet status in Ecclesia cum aliqua solemni consecratione vel benedictione confertur; quod non fit in commissione parochialis curae vel archidiaconatus. Quam quidem probationem excludere conantur multipliciter. As we have already shown that archdeacons and parish priests are not in a state of perfection, we must now examine what answer has been made to the proofs which we have brought forward in support of our proposition. It has been said that entrance into any state of perfection, is accompanied by some solemn rite or blessing; and that this is not the case with the election of a parish priest or archdeacon. Now this is, by our adversaries, denied on several grounds. Primo, quia in consecratione tam episcopi quam sacerdotis, verba sunt communia, ut consecrentur et sanctificentur, domine, manus istae et cetera. 1. First, they say that the same words are used in the ordination of a priest as in the consecration of a bishop, to wit, “May these hands, O Lord, be consecrated and sanctified,” etc. Item. Si dicatur, quod unctio capitis datur episcopo et non sacerdoti; hoc non videtur ad propositum facere: quia etiam reges olim in capite ungebantur, qui tamen non possunt sibi statum perfectionis vindicare. Non ergo per hoc potest dici episcopus esse in statu perfectiori supra presbyterum curatum, quia in capite ungitur. 2. When we point out that the head of a bishop is anointed with oil, but that priests do not receive this unction, they reply that this fact does not touch the matter in hand; for kings, who lay no claim to a state of perfection, are anointed. Item, meritum non acquiritur per consecrationem, sed per bona opera mentis. Aliquando enim etiam malus in episcopum consecratur, et in hoc maxime demeretur. Non enim qui maior fuerit in honore est iustior, sed qui fuerit iustior est maior, ut habetur XL dist., multi; et in eadem distinctione dicitur, quod non loca vel ordines creatori nostro nos proximos faciunt, sed nos aut merita bona ei iungunt aut mala disiungunt; et non sanctorum filii sunt qui tenent loca sanctorum, sed qui exercent opera sanctorum. Non ergo propter hoc episcopi sunt in statu magis perfecto quam presbyteri curati, quia maiorem consecrationem habent. 3. Again, they say that merit lies not in consecration, but in good works; and that, when a bad man is raised to the episcopate, he, by his consecration, incurs a greater chastisement. For it is not they who receive the greatest honour who are the most righteous, but they are the greatest whose justice is greatest (cf. Gratian, dist. cap. Multi). And in the same distinction it is remarked, that, “it is not places nor offices which give us access to our Creator, but that virtue unites us to Him; whereas sin separates us from Him. Neither are they to be considered the children of the Saints who occupy the places of the Saints, but they, rather, who do the work of the Saints.” Bishops, then, because their consecration is greater, are not, therefore, in a more perfect state than priests who have cure of souls. Item. Consecratio capitis magis pertinet ad signum et gradum sacerdotii: episcopatus enim non est novus ordo, sed gradus in ordine; alioquin essent plures ordines quam septem. Perfectio autem caritatis pertinet ad meritum sanctitatis, non ad gradum ordinis. Non ergo episcopi, qui per unctionem capitis obtinent maiorem gradum sacerdotii, sunt in perfectiori statu. 4. Again, it is urged, that the anointing of the head is a sign of a certain rank in the priesthood. For the episcopate is not a new order but a grade of Orders; otherwise there would be more orders than seven. Now the perfection of charity is a question not of rank, but of holiness. Hence bishops, who, by the unction of the head are raised to a superior grade of the priesthood, are not thereby placed in a more perfect state. Item. Episcopus instituit archidiaconum vel plebanum vel curatum, per librum vel per anulum, ut habetur Extra. de sententia rei iudicatae; vel cum Papa mandat aliquem institui in Ecclesia aliqua in canonicum et in fratrem, seu in plebanum vel curatum, mandat eum institui cum plenitudine honoris, ut habetur Extra. de concessione Ecclesiae cap. proposuit. Videtur ergo curatorum et archidiaconorum esse status, ex quo statu eici potest. 5. Again, a bishop appoints an archdeacon, a parish priest or a curate by giving him a ring or a book, as is laid down in “De sententia et re judicata,” just as when the pope sends anyone to be attached. to any church as a canon or brother, he desires him to be appointed with complete honours, as we learn in Extra de concessione ecclesiae, cap. Proposuit. Thus, the state of parish priests or archdeacons appears to be a true state from which a man can be ejected.
Rationes ad ostendendum quod dimissio curae non sufficit ad probandum, quod presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi non sint in statu perfectionis
Showing That the Liability to Suspension Does Not Suffice to Prove That Parish Priests Or Archdeacons Are in A State of Perfection
Similiter etiam contra id quod dictum est, quod archidiaconus vel presbyter curatus non sunt in statu perfectionis quia possunt sine peccato ab hoc recedere, multipliciter obiiciunt. MANY objections are made to the proposition, that archdeacons or parish priests are not in a state of perfection. Primo quidem, quia dicunt quod propter hoc curatus presbyter ad religionem transire potest, quamvis status curati sit perfectior et fructuosior, quia status religionis est securior. Ad hoc probandum inducit quod dicitur Extra. de renuntiationibus, cap. nisi cum pridem. 1. First, because they can, without sin, resign their office. We are told, first, that pastors of souls may resign their posts and retire into religion; because while the pastorate is a more useful and more perfect state than the religious, the religious life is the safer of the two. In proof of this, the passage, Nisi cum pridem from Extra de renuntiat. is quoted. Item. Vir uxorem suam non potest dimittere et ea invita ad religionem transire, ut dicitur Extra. de conversione coniugatorum, cap. ex publico. Sed hoc non est ideo quia status coniugii sit maioris perfectionis quam status religionis, vel aequalis ei; sed quia se uxori suae per matrimonium insolubiliter obligavit. Ergo similiter licet presbyter curatus possit transire ad religionem, non propter hoc sequitur quod status religionis sit perfectior, vel aeque perfectus. 2. A husband may not put his wife away against her will, in order to become a religious (Extra de conversione conjugatorum, cap. Uxoratus). This, however is not because the married state is more perfect than, or even equal to, the religious, but because a husband binds himself indissolubly to his wife. And, a pari, the fact that a parish priest can pass into the religious life, does not prove that the religious state exceeds, or even equals, the pastorate in perfection. Item, inducit ad hoc exemplum David, qui, ut habetur I Reg. XVII, cum non posset pugnare in armis Saulis, quae requirebant maiorem fortitudinem, contulit se ad arma maioris humilitatis, licet minoris roboris vel fortitudinis, scilicet ad fundam et lapidem, quibus gigantem Philistaeum virum ab adolescentia sua bellatorem puer deiecit et prostravit. Potest ergo curatus exemplo David ad arma maioris humilitatis, scilicet religionis, se transferre, licet esset in statu perfectiori. 3. The example of David is also alleged as an argument against our proposition. Being unable to meet Saul with ordinary armour, which would have been too heavy for him, David provided himself with lowlier weapons, to wit with a sling and stones; and with these alone he overthrew the mighty Philistine. After this example, a parish priest may, likewise, take to himself arms of greater humility, i.e., he may transfer himself from his own more perfect state to the religious life. Item. Si inseparabilitas esset causa status, sequeretur quod non liceret alicui se transferre de statu in statum. Hoc autem licet: non ergo inseparabilitas est de ratione status. 4. It is further objected, that, if the essence of a state depend upon the fact that that state cannot be changed, it would not be lawful for a man to pass from one state to another. Hence, immutability is not essential to a state. Item. Secundum iura scripta praelatus posset curatum sibi subditum de religione ad Ecclesiam suam revocare, si sciret eum esse utilem aut proficuum Ecclesiae suae; immo curatus non debet Ecclesiam suam dimittere sine consensu et auctoritate episcopi: quod si fecerit, potest episcopus in eum exercere canonicam ultionem, ut (habetur) Extra. de renunciationibus admonet; et de privilegiis, cum et plantare, in Ecclesiis: et 7, quaest. I, cap.: episcopus de loco. Et sic non videtur verum quod status religionis sit perfectior propter hoc quod curati presbyteri possunt religionem intrare. 5. Again, according to the written law, a prelate can recall to a parish one of his priests who has entered religion, if he know that he is likely to be of use in the diocese; and if a priest go into a monastery, without the consent of his bishop, he is liable to a canonical penance (Extra de renuntiatione, cap. Amovet; et de privilegiis, can. Cum et plantare in ecclesiis, and VII. Quest. I. can. Episcopus de loco). Hence, it is not true to say, that the religious state is more perfect than that of parish priests, because the latter can embrace the religious life. Item. Etiam e converso monachus pro necessitate Ecclesiae et curae animarum potest transire de religione ad Ecclesiam saecularem cum cura, ut habetur 16, quaest. I, cap. vos autem, et cap. monachos. Nam unius utilitati praeferenda est utilitas plurimorum, VII qu. (1), cap. scias. 6. But, on the other hand, a monk may, for the good of the Church, and for the welfare of souls, pass from the religious life to a secular church with parish work (XVI. quaest I. cap. Vos autem, and cap. Monachos). For, the profit of many is to be preferred to the advantage of a individual (VII. q. 1. cap. Scias). Item. Non sequitur quod si aliquis cadere potest a perfectione caritatis, quod nunquam fuerit in perfectione caritatis; sed magis e converso quod fuerit. Licet ergo presbyter curatus discedat a suo regimine ex aliqua causa, non sequitur quod non fuerit in statu perfectionis. 7. Again, the fact that men are liable to fall from the perfection of charity, is no proof that they never were in the perfection of charity. Their fall is rather a witness to the contrary. Hence, the lapse of a parish priest does not prove that before his sin he was not in a state of perfection. Item, quod maiores praelati, scilicet episcopi, non possint transire ad religionem sine licentia summi pontificis, hoc est de constitutione Ecclesiae promulgata tempore Innocentii; sicut patet per illam decretalem Extra. de renunciationibus, Can. nisi cum pridem. Ergo ante constitutionem licebat maioribus sicut et minoribus; et tamen maiores sunt in perfectiori statu. Non ergo hoc impedit presbyteros curatos esse in perfectiori statu quam religiosos, licet sine licentia summi pontificis possint ad religionem transire. 8. An ecclesiastical decree, promulgated in the time of Pope Innocent, forbids prelates of the highest rank (i.e. bishops) to become religious, without the permission of the Sovereign Pontiff. This appears in the decretal Extra de renuntiatione, cap. Nisi cum pridem. But before the promulgation of this decree, the highest in the Church as well as the lowest, were free to become religious; and yet bishops are in a more perfect state than are the inferior clergy. The fact, then, that parish priests can become religious without the permission of the Sovereign Pontiff, does not prevent their being in a more perfect state than are religious. Item. Nullus debet in episcopum eligi, nisi fuerit in sacris ordinibus constitutus, ut habetur 60, distinct. nullus in episcopum. Sed in sacris ordinibus constitutus non potest uxorem ducere. Non est ergo verum quod electus possit uxorem ducere. 9. Again, no one can be consecrated bishop who has not already received Holy Orders (LX. distinct. Nullus in episcopun). But no ordained person can marry. Hence it is untrue to say that a bishop elect can marry.
Solutio rationum quibus probari videbatur quod presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sunt in statu perfectiori quam religiosi
An Answer to the Foregoing Arguments,
in Which An Attempt Was Made to Show That Archdeacons and Parish Priests Are in A Higher Degree of Perfection Than Are Religious
Haec autem quae proposita sunt, quam sint frivola, derisibilia, et in multis erronea, demonstrandum est, singulorum efficaciam diligenter ponderando. WE will now carefully examine each of the arguments quoted in the last chapter (ch. 21, first set), in order to show how truly they may be set aside, as frivolous, absurd, and erroneous. Quod enim primo inducunt quosdam canones ad probandum presbyteros curatos et archidiaconos in statu esse, nihil ad propositum facit. Nam in capitulis inductis nulla fit mentio de statu, sed de gradu. Sic enim habetur 81, dist.: si quis amodo episcopus, presbyter, diaconus feminam acceperit, vel acceptam retinuerit, a proprio decidat gradu. Et XIV qu. 4 dicitur: si quis oblitus timorem domini et sanctarum Scripturarum, etc., faeneraverit, etc., de gradu suo deiectus, alienus habeatur a clero. Non ergo per hoc probari potest a contrario sensu, quod habeat statum, sed gradum. Et hoc necesse est; quia ubicumque est ordo vel superioritas aliqua, ibi est aliquis gradus. Ad 1. First. We are told that certain canonical decrees prove that archdeacons and pastors of souls are in a fixed state. This argument is worthless, for the Canons in question speak, not of the state, of the clergy, but of their rank. The words used in distinction LXXXI are, “Henceforth, should any bishop, priest, or deacon, take a wife, or keep one whom he has married, let him be degraded from his rank.”Again (in XIV, question IV, can. “Si quis dicetur”), we find the following passage, “If any man, forgetful of the Law of the Lord, and of the words of Holy Scripture ‘who has not given his money out at usury’ shall, after the constitution of the Great Council, have committed usury, or received interest on his money, or enriched himself by any dishonest practice, or by selling or buying wine, corn or property of any kind, let him be degraded from his rank; and let him be considered an outcast from the clergy.” Thus, these words cannot be understood to speak of clerical state, but of that clerical rank which must necessarily exist. For, wheresoever there be any order or superiority, there must be specified degrees of rank. Quod vero secundo est positum, quam sit frivolum, quilibet intelligens advertere potest. Nulli enim dubium est statum multipliciter dici. Nam ille qui erigitur, stare dicitur: et magnitudo statum facit, secundum quod distinguitur status incipientium, proficientium et perfectorum. Stare etiam firmitatem importat, secundum illud apostoli I Cor. XV 58: stabiles estote et immobiles in omni opere bono. Non autem sic loquimur de statu, sed secundum quod dicitur status libertatis vel servitutis, sicut accipitur 2, quaest. 6: si quando in causa capitali vel causa status interpellatum fuerit, non per exploratores, sed per se ipsos est agendum. Et sic accipiendo statum, illi statum perfectionis accipiunt qui se servos constituunt ad opera perfectionis implenda, ut supra dictum est. Hoc autem non contingit nisi per votum perpetuae obligationis, quia servitus libertati opponitur. Quandiu igitur in sua libertate aliquis habet recedere a perfectionis opere, statum perfectionis non habet, sicut et supra ostensum est. Ad 2. With regard to the second argument, we may say that its absurdity is so patent, that none can fail to see it. No one doubts that the word state is used with several meanings. For he who is erect is said to stand. We also distinguish between the state of beginners, of proficients, and of the perfect. To stand also means to be firm. Thus St. Paul says (1 Cor. xv. 58), “Be steadfast and immoveable: always abounding in the work of the Lord.” But this is not the usual way in which the word state is used. We employ it, rather, to indicate a certain condition; we say, a state of liberty, or a state of slavery. It is made use of in this sense in II, Quest. VI., where these words occur, “If we should by chance be appealed to in a capital charge, or in a suit concerning a state, we must act at our own discretion, not by means of examiners.” If we accept the word state in this sense, it is true to say, that they embrace the state of perfection who, as we have before said, bind themselves to the service of works of perfection. This cannot be the case save by a vow, implying a perpetual obligation of service or servitude, as opposed to liberty. As long, then, as a man is free to abandon the works of perfection, he is not in a state of perfection. Quod vero tertio propositum fuit, tam frivolum est ut responsione non egeat. In hoc enim quod dicitur: qui bene praesunt presbyteri etc., nec de perfectione nec de statu fit mentio. Praeesse enim non constituit statum, sed gradum; nec honor debetur soli perfectioni, sed universaliter virtuti quae designatur in hoc quod dicitur: bene praesunt. Dicitur enim Rom. II, 10: gloria et honor et pax omni operanti bonum. Ad 3. The third objection is, likewise, so frivolous, that it would seem hardly to need an answer. In the words, “Priests who govern well,” there is no mention either of a state, or of perfection. Government does not indicate a state, but a rank. Honour is due, not only to perfection, but to all who do good works; and this fact is shown by the very words, “they who govern well.” We read, also, in the Epistle to the Romans (ii. 10), “Glory and peace and honour to everyone who does good.” In hoc vero quod quarto propositum est, manifeste falsitas continetur; ubi dicitur quod ante tempus Ieronymi et Augustini, non erat aliud presbyter et episcopus. Huius enim contrarium expresse dicit Augustinus in epistola ad Ieronymum: quamquam secundum honorum vocabula, quae iam Ecclesiae usus obtinuit, episcopatus presbyterio maior sit, tamen in multis rebus Augustinus Ieronymo minor est. Sed ne aliquis calumnietur hoc circa tempora Ieronymi in usum venisse, ut episcopus presbytero maior sit; accipienda est auctoritas Dionysii, qui scripsit ordinem ecclesiasticae hierarchiae secundum quod erat in Ecclesia primitiva. Dicit enim in 5 cap. ecclesiasticae Hierarch., tres esse ordines ecclesiasticae hierarchiae: scilicet episcoporum, presbyterorum et diaconorum. Ubi notandum est, quod ordinem diaconorum dicit esse purgativum, ordinem autem sacerdotum illuminativum, ordinem vero episcoporum perfectivum, et, sicut ipse dicit in 6 cap. eiusdem libri, tribus his ordinibus tres ordines respondent: nam ordini diaconorum subiicitur ordo immundorum qui purgatione indigent; ordini vero presbyterorum subiicitur ordo illuminandorum, scilicet sacer populus, qui a presbyteris illuminatur per sacramentorum susceptionem; ordini vero episcoporum subiicitur ordo perfectorum, scilicet monachorum, qui per eorum traditiones edocetur ad perfectissimam perfectionem sursum actus. Ex quo patet secundum Dionysium quod perfectio attribuitur solis episcopis et monachis: episcopis autem tanquam perfectoribus, monachis autem tanquam perfectis. Sed ne quis dicat quod Dionysius tradit ordinem ecclesiasticae hierarchiae ab apostolis institutum, cum tamen ex domini institutione idem essent presbyteri et episcopi; hoc manifeste falsum apparet ex hoc quod dicitur Luc. X 1: post haec autem designavit dominus, etc., ubi dicit Glosa: sicut in apostolis forma est episcoporum, sic in septuaginta forma est presbyterorum secundi ordinis. Ad 4. The fourth argument contains a manifest untruth. We are told, that, in the days of Sts. Jerome and Augustine, a bishop and priest were one and the same. Now, St. Augustine expressly says the opposite in his epistle ad Hieronymum. We give his words. “Although,” he says, “in the language of good men, which has become current in the Church, the episcopate is accounted greater than the priesthood, it is nevertheless, in many things less.” But as some men may deny, that, in the days of St. Jerome, bishops were generally regarded as superior to priests, we will quote the authority of Dionysius, who wrote concerning the order of ecclesiastical hierarchy, as it was established in the primitive Church. These are his words: “There are three orders in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to wit, bishops, priests, and deacons” (V. cap. Eccl. hierarch.). We may remark, that the same writer speaks of deacons as composing the purifying order, of priests as forming the illuminative order, and of bishops as being the order producing perfection. “There are further,” he continues, “three other orders corresponding to the three already mentioned. For, the order of the unpurified is subject to that of the deacons, whose duty it is to cleanse. The order of those needing light (i.e., the holy people of God) is subject to the order of priests, whose office it is to illuminate by the administration of the Sacraments. The order of the perfect (i.e., the monks) is subject to the order of bishops, and is by them, instructed in, and elevated to, sublime perfection.” Hence, we see that Dionysius attributes perfection only to bishops and monks: to bishops as to the more perfect, to monks as perfect. But, lest anyone should make the objection, that he describes an ecclesiastical hierarchy established by the Apostles, whereas, by the institution of our Lord, bishops and priests were one and the same, we will disprove this fallacy by quoting the words of the Gloss on St. Luke (x. 1), “After these things the Lord appointed, etc.” The Gloss observes that, “whereas the first order, that of the bishops, is represented by the Apostles, the second order, that of the priesthood, is typified by the seventy-two disciples.” Et mirum cum hoc ipsi introducant, qualiter propriam vocem ignorant, statim postmodum asserentes solum circa tempora Hieronymi episcopos a presbyteris esse distinctos. Et si quis ad anteriora tempora progredi velit, inveniet etiam in veteri lege distinctos pontifices a minoribus sacerdotibus, in qua tantum erat sacerdotium figurale; dicitur enim dist. 21, cap. de quibus: summi pontifices, et minores sacerdotes a Deo sunt instituti per Moysen, qui ex praecepto domini Aaron in summum pontificem, filios vero eius unxit in minores sacerdotes. Ex quo patet quod falsum intellectum concipit ex verbo Ieronymi. Non enim intendit Hieronymus dicere, quod in primitiva Ecclesia esset idem ordo vel status episcoporum et presbyterorum: sed quod istorum vocabulorum erat promiscuus usus, quia et presbyteri dicebantur episcopi quasi intendentes, et episcopi presbyteri propter dignitatem. Unde ut Isidorus dicit, et habetur dist. 21, cap. cleros, presbyteri minores, licet sint sacerdotes, tamen pontificatus apicem non habent: quia nec chrismate frontem signant nec spiritum Paraclytum dant, quod solum deberi episcopis, lectio actuum apostolorum demonstrat: et concludit: unde et apud veteres idem episcopi et presbyteri fuerunt; quia illud nomen est dignitatis, non aetatis. Ubi ostenditur differentia esse in re, sed convenientia in nomine, propter dignitatem quam importat nomen presbyteratus. Fuit autem postmodum necessarium ad vitandum schismatis errorem, qui ex indifferentia nominum oriebatur, ut etiam nomina distinguerentur: ut scilicet soli maiores presbyteri dicerentur episcopi, minores vero solum presbyteri dicerentur. It is strange how those who uphold this argument, appear to misunderstand simple words. They assert, that it is only since the days of St. Jerome, that bishops have been distinguished from priests. Yet, if anyone will examine the Old Law, of which the priesthood prefigured our priesthood, he will see that the High Priests were an order distinct from the priests. It is stated (distinct. XXI. cap. De quibus), that, “The High Priests and inferior priests were instituted by Moses, who, at the bidding of the Lord, anointed Aaron to be High Priest, and his sons inferior priests.”This passage proves that the words of St. Jerome have been misinterpreted. For, the Saint does not say, that in the primitive Church the order, or state, of the episcopate and that of the priesthood was one and the same. What he says is, that the same word was used to designate the two orders. For priests spoke of bishops, literally, as superintendents; and bishops used the same word of priests, on account of their priestly dignity. Hence Isidore says (and it is laid down, distinct. XXI, cap. Cleros) that, “the inferior clergy, although priests, have not attained to the highest dignity of the pontificate; for their foreheads are not anointed with chrism; neither have they power to confer the Holy Ghost, a power, as we know from the Acts of the Apostles, reserved to bishops. Hence (he concludes), in the early Church the same word was used both for bishops and priests; for the name denotes dignity and not age.” There is a difference in the thing signified; but the same word is, on account of the priestly dignity, used both for bishops and priests, In later times, however, it was found necessary, for the removal of a schism, arising from the similarity of name, to make a distinction in the appellation of the ranks of the clergy. Since then, the superior priesthood only has been called the episcopate; and the inferior clergy are known, simply, as priests. Quod vero quinto propositum est efficaciam non habet. Vita enim contemplativa non solum praefertur activae quia est securior, ut proponitur, sed quia est simpliciter melior, secundum quod dominus dicit Luc. X 42: optimam partem elegit sibi Maria. Et quanto contemplatio melior est actione, tanto plus pro Deo facere videtur qui dilectae contemplationis aliquod detrimentum patitur, ut saluti proximorum propter Deum intendat. Intendere igitur saluti proximorum cum aliquo detrimento contemplationis propter amorem Dei et proximi, ad maiorem perfectionem caritatis pertinere videtur quam si aliquis intantum dulcedini contemplationis inhaeret, quod nullo modo eam deserere vellet, etiam propter salutem aliorum; propter quam apostolus non solum praesentis vitae contemplationem, sed etiam a contemplatione caelestis patriae retardari ad tempus voluit propter proximorum salutem, ut patet per id quod dicitur Phil. I 23 - 24: coartor ex duobus: desiderium habens dissolvi et cum Christo esse, multo enim melius est; permanere autem in carne, necessarium propter vos. Ad 5. The argument brought forward in the fifth objection is not tenable. The contemplative life is superior to the active, not, merely, because it is more secure, but simply because it is better. This, our Lord’s own words point out: “Mary has chosen the better part” (Luke x. 43). And in so far as contemplation is superior to activity, so much the more would he seem to do for God, who, at the expense of his much loved contemplation, devotes himself, for God’s sake, to his neighbour’s salvation. Hence, it is a proof of a greater perfection of charity, to be willing, for the love of God and of our neighbour, to labour for the salvation of others, even though, by so doing, contemplation be somewhat impaired, than to cleave so closely to the sweetness of contemplation as to be unwilling to sacrifice it, even for the salvation of others. St. Paul was so zealous for the salvation of his brethren, that he desired, for their sake, not merely the prolongation of this present life, but also the temporary postponement of the Beatific vision. His own words to the Philippians (i. 23) are a proof of his disposition. “I am straitened,” he says, “between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better. But to abide still in the flesh, is needful for you.” Sed si de perfectione caritatis agitur, quae in animi praeparatione plurimum consistit, ut supra ex verbis Augustini est probatum, multi contemplativam vitam agentes, etiam hanc perfectionem habent: ut animo sint parati secundum Dei beneplacitum etiam a dilectae contemplationis otio suspendi ad tempus, ut proximorum saluti vacent. Quae tamen perfectio caritatis in plerisque proximorum utilitati vacantibus non invenitur, quos magis contemplativae vitae taedium ad exteriora deducit quam in desiderio habeatur: ut sic in eis ad perfectionem dilectionis pertineat quod eam tanquam bonum dilectum ad tempus postponant. Sed quorundam defectus statui vel officio praeiudicium afferre non potest: hoc enim ipsum quod est aliorum proximorum curam gerere, perfectionis actus censeri debet, cum ad perfectam dilectionem Dei et proximi pertineat. If by perfection of charity we mean (according to the teaching of St. Augustine), preparation of heart, many who lead a contemplative life have attained to a degree of charity not found in some who are entirely occupied in labouring for the salvation of their neighbour. For, many contemplatives are ready, in order to please God, to suspend for a time their cherished contemplation, in order to devote themselves to the welfare of their brethren. Whereas, those who are busied in exterior works, are often led to engage in them, rather from the tedium which they experience in contemplation, than from the desire of attaining to the fulness of divine love, which would induce them to lay aside for a time that contemplation which is their delight. But, the faults of individuals do not detract from the merit of any state or office; and care for the salvation of others must always be esteemed an act of perfection, since it pertains to the love, both of God, and of our neighbour. Sed hic considerandum est, quod non quicumque actu habet quod est perfectius, in perfectiori statu constituitur. Nullus enim dubitat quin virginitatem servare ad perfectionem pertineat, quia de hoc dominus dicit: qui potest capere, capiat: Matth. XIX, 12: et apostolus dicit I Cor. VII, 25: de virginibus praeceptum domini non habeo, consilium autem do; sunt enim consilia de operibus perfectionis: et tamen virginitas conservata absque voto, perfectionis statum non habet. Dicit enim Augustinus in libro de virginitate: neque enim ipsa, scilicet virginitas, quia virginitas est, sed quia Deo dicata est, honoratur: quae licet in carne servatur, ac per hoc etiam virginitas corporalis spiritualis est, quam vovet et servat continentia pietatis: et infra: honoratius in animi bonis illa continentia numeranda est qua integritas carnis ipsi creatori animae et carnis vovetur, consecratur, servatur. But, here we must remember, that not everyone who performs acts of perfection, is necessarily in a state of perfection. No one doubts, that a life of virginity pertains to perfection. our Lord says of it: “He that can take let him take” (Matt. xix. 12). And St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, (1 Ep. vii. 25), “Concerning virgins I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give a counsel.” Now there are counsels concerning the works of perfection; nevertheless a life of virginity without a vow, does not constitute a state of perfection. St. Augustine says, in his book, De virginibus, “Virginity is not honoured because it is virginity, but because it is dedicated to God. And by this consecration, even virginity of the body, preserved by piety, becomes spiritual.”And, again, he says, “That continence is to be numbered among the goods of the soul, by which the body is preserved inviolate, for the Creator of soul and body, and which is dedicated and consecrated to Him.” Manifestum est autem quod archidiaconi et curati presbyteri, etsi curam animarum habeant, non tamen se voto astringunt ad huiusmodi curam habendam: alioquin non possent absque auctoritate eius qui in voto perpetuo dispensare posset, archidiaconatus vel parochiae curam dimittere. Etsi ergo archidiaconus vel presbyter curatus aliquem perfectionis actum exerceat, vel officium accipiat, non tamen perfectionis statum habet. Et si quis recte consideret, huius perfectionis statum magis habent religiosi, qui ex voto sui ordinis obligantur ad hoc quod episcopis subministrent in his quae ad curam animarum pertinent, praedicando et confessiones audiendo, quam ipsi archidiaconi vel curati. Now, it is clear, that neither archdeacons nor parish priests, even if they are entrusted with the care of souls, are bound by vow to that office. If they were, they could not relinquish an archidiaconate or a parish, without a dispensation from him who has power to annul perpetual vows. Hence, although an archdeacon, or a parish priest performs a work of perfection or accepts a position involving such work, he is, nevertheless, not in a state of perfection. And, if we reflect carefully, we shall see that the religious life is, really, the state of perfection; since, by the vow of their order, religious are obliged, more strictly than are archdeacons or priests, to submit to their bishops, in all that regards the cure of souls, such as preaching and hearing confessions. Iam vero quod sexto proponitur, quod augmentum caritatis non potest esse in persona quae non sit in statu, patet secundum praedicta omnino falsum esse: sunt enim aliqui in statu perfectionis, imperfectam caritatem vel omnino nullam habentes, sicut multi episcopi et religiosi in peccato mortali existentes. Quamvis igitur multi boni curati perfectam caritatem habeant, ut sint parati animam suam ponere pro aliis; non tamen propter hoc sunt in statu perfectionis: quia non desunt multi laici, etiam coniugati, eandem caritatis perfectionem habentes, ut pro salute proximorum parati sint animas ponere: non tamen in statu perfectionis esse dicuntur. Ad 6. With regard to the sixth objection, we declare that, as has been already shown, it is untrue to say that there cannot be increase, or perfection of charity, in a person who is not living in a state of perfection. Some men live in a state of perfection, while their charity is either very imperfect, or does not exist; for there are many religious and bishops living in a state of mortal sin. But, on the other hand, the fact that there are many good parish priests, whose charity is perfect, and who are ready to lay down their lives for others, does not prove that they are in a state of perfection. For there are many laymen, even married people, who have attained to such perfection of charity, that they, also, are willing to die for their neighbour. This virtue, however, does not prove such persons to be in a state of perfection. Quod vero septimo proponitur septem diacones ab apostolis institutos perfectionis statum habuisse: hoc nec ex textu nec Glosa haberi potest. Quod enim dicitur eos fuisse plenos spiritu sancto et sapientia, ostendit eos gratiae perfectionem habuisse, quae potest esse etiam in his qui statum perfectionis non habent. Quod vero in Glossa Bedae dicitur, quod erant sublimioris gradus, et proximi circa aram, designat eminentiam gradus vel officii. Aliud autem est esse in gradu, et esse in statu, ut supra iam dictum est. Et tamen verum est, illos septem diacones etiam in statu perfectionis fuisse: illius, inquam, perfectionis de qua dominus dicit: si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus, Matth. XIX 21; nam relictis omnibus secuti fuerant Christum, nihil proprium possidentes, sed erant illis omnia communia, ut dicitur Act. IV; a quorum exemplo omnes religiones derivatae sunt. Ad 7. As for the seventh objection, viz. that the deacons pointed by the Apostles were in a state of perfection, there is no proof of the truth of this assertion, either in the text of the Bible, or in the Gloss. We are told that the deacons were “filled with the Holy Spirit and with wisdom”; but this merely shows, that they possessed that perfection of grace which may exist in those who are not in a state of perfection. And the fact that they ministered around the altar, only points out that they held a certain high rank in the Church. For, as we have before said, there is a difference between a state and a rank. It is, nevertheless, true that the deacons were in that state of perfection, to which our Lord referred when He said, “If you will be perfect, go, sell what you hast, and follow Me” (Matt. xix. 21). For the deacons followed Christ, forsaking all things, and possessing nothing of their own, but having all things in common (Acts iv.). It is on their example that religious orders are moulded. Quod vero octavo proponitur, Stephanum et Laurentium archidiaconos in statu perfectionis fuisse; concedimus quidem; sed non propter archidiaconatum, sed propter martyrium, quod omni perfectioni religionis praefertur. Unde dicit Augustinus in Lib. de virginitate: perhibet huius rei praeclarissimum testimonium ecclesiastica auctoritas, in qua fidelibus notum est quo loco martyres, et quo defunctae sanctimoniales ad altaris sacramenta recitentur. Sic enim et Sebastianum dico in statu perfectionis fuisse, et Georgium; nec tamen propter hoc dicemus milites statum perfectionis habere. Ad 8. In the eighth objection it is maintained that the archdeacons SS. Stephen, Lawrence, and Vincent, were in a state of perfection. They most certainly were. But this state was due, not to the fact that they were archdeacons, but that they were martyrs. Martyrdom surpasses all religious perfection. St. Augustine in his book De virginibus, says, “Ecclesiastical authority gives us the plainest evidence of this fact. For, by the authority of the Church, it is made known to the faithful, in what places the names of martyrs and of holy women deceased, are mentioned at the mysteries of the altar.” Yet, I say, that even though Sebastian and George were in a state of perfection, we cannot, on their account, call the military life a state of perfection. Quod autem nono obiicitur, quod presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sunt similiores episcopis quam religiosi; verum est quantum ad aliquid, scilicet quantum ad curam subditorum; sed quantum ad perpetuam obligationem, quae requiritur ad statum perfectionis, similiores sunt episcopo religiosi quam archidiaconi vel presbyteri curati, ut ex praedictis patet. Ad 9. The ninth objection brought against us, is, that parish priests and archdeacons resemble bishops rather than religious. This is true as regards their work, to wit the care of souls committed to them. But it is not the case with regard to that perpetual obligation, which is essential to a state of perfection. From the point of view of obligation, religious, as has been pointed out, resemble bishops more closely than do archdeacons or parish priests. Quod vero decimo proponitur, quod administratio facultatum Ecclesiae statum perfectionis non minuit, indubitanter concedimus: alioquin in ipsis religionibus praelati et alii officiales temporalia dispensantes a gradu perfectionis deciderent. Sed hoc in eis perfectionis cuiusdam statum diminuit, quod propriis non abrenuntiant, sua omnia propter Christum relinquentes; quinimmo Ecclesiarum fructus tanquam proprios lucrifaciunt. Ad 10. We fully agree with the tenth proposition, viz. that the administration of ecclesiastical property does not detract from the state of perfection. Were this the case, the superiors and ministers of temporal affairs in religious orders would become imperfect. But perfection is weakened in those who do not renounce all that they possess, for the sake of Christ, and who make a profit out of the revenues of the Church, as if they were their own property. In eo vero quod undecimo proponitur, manifeste inveniuntur desipere, Vigilantii errorem sequentes: contra quem Hieronymus scribens dicit: quod asserit eos melius facere qui utuntur rebus suis, et paulatim fructus possessionum pauperibus dividunt, quam illos qui possessionibus venumdatis simul omnia largiuntur, non a me eis, sed a Deo respondebitur si vis perfectus esse, vade, et vende omnia quae habes, etc. ad eum loquitur qui vult esse perfectus; iste quem tu laudas secundus aut tertius gradus est. Non ergo propter hoc archidiaconi vel presbyteri curati sunt perfectiores, quia servant hospitalitatem, quam monachi proprium non habentes servare non possunt. Ad 11. They who put forward the eleventh objection, are plainly led astray by the folly of Vigilantius, against whom St. Jerome thus writes, “Those who assert that it is more perfect to keep the use of their own goods and to distribute their income among the poor in driblets, rather than to renounce and give away all their possessions at once, must take their answer, not from me, but from the Lord, who said, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and come follow me.’ He is speaking to those who desire to be perfect, and who, with the Apostles, leave father, boat, and net. He whose example you praise, is in the second or third rank of perfection.” Further, it is incorrect to say that archdeacons and parish priests are more perfect than monks, because they show hospitality and monks do not. For, as religious renounce all that they possess, they have no means of entertaining guests. Quod vero duodecimo proponitur, quod nullum est sacrificium Deo magis acceptum quam zelus animarum, absque dubitatione concedimus. Sed in animarum zelo hic ordo servandus est, ut primo homo animae suae zelum habeat, eam ab omni affectu terrenorum absolvens, secundum illud sapientis, Eccli. XXX, 24: miserere animae tuae, placens Deo: ut patet per Augustinum, 21 de Civit. Dei. Sic ergo si post contemptum terrenorum et sui ipsius aliquis in hoc procedat ulterius, ut etiam aliarum animarum habeat zelum, erit perfectius sacrificium. Sed tunc perfectissimum erit quando ad zelum animarum habendum voto seu professione obligatur, sicut episcopus, vel etiam religiosi ad hoc per votum obligati. Ad 12. The twelfth argument, viz. that the most agreeable offering that can be made to God is zeal for souls, is undoubtedly true. But a certain order must be observed in this zeal. A man must, first, have zeal for his own soul, and strip it of all earthly affections in accordance with those words of the wise man (Eccles. xxx. 24), “Have pity on your own soul, pleasing God.” This duty is pointed out by St. Augustine (XXI. De civitate Dei). Now, if a man, having arrived at contempt for earthly concerns, and even for himself, proceed, further, to zeal for the soul of others, he will, thereby, offer a more perfect sacrifice to God, than he would have presented by zeal only for his own salvation. But the most perfect of all offerings that can be made to the Almighty, is the obligation, whereby bishops and religious are bound, by vow or profession, to live a life of zeal for souls. Quod vero tertiodecimo proponitur, quod sicut patriarcha praesidet in suo patriarchatu, et episcopus in suo episcopatu, ita archidiaconus in suo archidiaconatu, et presbyter curatus in sua parochia: est manifeste falsum. Nam episcopi principaliter curam habent omnium suae dioecesis; presbyteri autem curati, vel etiam archidiaconi, habent aliquas subministrationes sub episcopis; sic enim se habent ad episcopum sicut balivi vel praepositi ad regem: unde super illud I Cor. XII, 28: alii opitulationes, alii gubernationes, dicit Glossa: opitulationes, idest eos qui maioribus ferunt opes, ut Titus apostolo, vel archidiaconi episcopis; gubernationes, scilicet minorum personarum praelationes, ut presbyteri sunt, quae plebi documento sunt. Unde et hoc ipsum ostenditur in ordinatione sacerdotum: de quibus episcopus dicit: quanto fragiliores sumus, scilicet apostolis, tanto magis his auxiliis indigemus. Unde 16, quaest. I, cap. cunctis, dicitur: omnibus presbyteris, et diaconibus et reliquis clericis attendendum est ut nihil absque proprii episcopi licentia agant. Non utique missas sine suo iussu quisquam presbyterorum in sua parochia agat, non baptizet, nec quidquam absque eius permissu faciat; et similiter habetur LXXX dist., Ca. non debere: presbyteri nihil sine praecepto et consilio episcopi agant. Ad 13. The thirteenth argument, viz. that, as a patriarch presides in his patriarchate, and a bishop in his see, so, likewise, an archdeacon rules in his archidiaconate, and a pastor in his parish, is manifestly faulty. For, a bishop rules the whole of his diocese; whereas archdeacons and parish priests have their sphere of government allotted to them by their bishop; they are, so to speak, his lieutenants, The Gloss, commenting on the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. xii. 28), “helps, governments,” interprets these “helps” as coadjutors to their superiors as was Titus to St. Paul, or as archdeacons are to their bishops. “Governments,” according to the Gloss, signify the clergy of inferior rank, such as priests, whose duty it is to teach. This interpretation is borne out by the words used by the bishop in the ordination of priests: “Inasmuch as we are weaker than they (i.e. than the Apostles), by so much the more do we need these helps.” Hence, it is laid down (XVI. Quest. I. cap. Cunctis), “That all priests, deacons and other clerics, must do nothing, without the permission of their own bishop.” Thus, without the license of his bishop, a priest cannot celebrate Mass, nor baptize in his own parish. This rule is again established in distinct. LXXX., “Priests shall do nothing without the command and advice of their bishop.” Quod vero quartodecimo proponitur de clericis qui propter enormia delicta in monasterio retruduntur, satis eorum animum et intentionem declarat. Nam, sicut dicit Gregorius X Moralium, pravi cum recta praedicant, valde difficile est ut ad hoc quod taciti ambiunt, non erumpant. Arbitrantur enim clericos esse in statu, non autem monachos, propter poenitentiae altitudinem, quam monachi voluntarie suscipiunt innocentes, ad quam coguntur clerici delinquentes. Qui quidem status tanto est apud Deum altior, quanto est in mundo abiectior, secundum illud Matth. XX: qui se humiliat, exaltabitur: et Iacob. II, 5, dicitur: elegit Deus pauperes in hoc mundo, divites in fide, et heredes regni. Sed mundanam gloriam ambientes, illa stare reputant quae ad gloriam pertinent, atque illa esse deiecta quae videntur humilia. Ad 14. The fourteenth objection bears witness to the sentiments of those that make it. It is founded on the fact, that priests when guilty of heinous crimes, are imprisoned in monasteries. “When crafty people say what is true,” observes St. Gregory (X. Moral.), “it is very difficult for them to conceal their secret ambition.” Those who bring forward the argument about the imprisonment of criminal priests, conclude that priests are in a state of perfection in which monks are not, because guilty priests are condemned to a rigorous penance, which innocent religious voluntarily embrace. But that state is highest before God which is the most lowly in the eyes of the world. For, “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke xiv. 11), and “God has chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom” (James ii. 5). But those who are ambitious of the glory of this world, reckon earthly honour to be a state; and they account as abject, whatsoever the world despises.
Solutio rationum quae inducebantur ad probandum quod defectus solemnis benedictionis vel consecrationis non derogat statui perfectionis presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi
An Answer to the Argument, Whereby Certain Persons Endeavour to Prove,
That the Defect of A Solemn Blessing Or Consecration Does Not Hinder Archdeacons Or Parish Priests From Being in A State of Perfection
Ostenso igitur quam frivolae sunt rationes quas inducunt ad ostendendum quod archidiaconi et presbyteri curati sunt in statu perfectiori quam religiosi; ostendendum est quam frivolum sit quod obiiciunt contra hoc quod dictum est, quod in statu perfectionis aliquis ponitur per solemnem consecrationem vel benedictionem. WE have already shown the absurdity of the arguments, on which is based the theory that archdeacons and parish priests are in a more perfect state than are religious. We will now, therefore, point out the frivolity of the objections raised against the proposition, that a man is placed in a state of perfection by means of a solemn blessing or consecration. (ch 21, second set) Ubi primo considerandum est, quod solemnis consecratio aut benedictio non est causa quod homo sit in statu perfectionis, sed inducitur quasi signum. Non enim adhibetur nisi illis qui in aliquo statu ponuntur; non quidem semper in statu perfectionis existentibus, sed statum quemcumque adipiscentibus. Hi enim qui matrimonio iunguntur, in statu aliquo ponuntur, quia ex tunc vir non habet potestatem sui corporis, similiter neque mulier, ut dicitur I Cor. VII: est enim in matrimonio perpetua obligatio unius ad alterum, ad quam significandam ab Ecclesia solemnis benedictio nuptiarum exhibetur; non tamen in statu perfectionis ponuntur, sed in statu matrimonii. Unde et his qui in statu perfectionis ponuntur, in signum perpetuae obligationis solemnis consecratio aut benedictio exhibetur; sicut etiam cum civiliter aliquis statum mutat, sicut cum servus manumittitur, aliqua civilis solemnitas exhibetur. But, first, we must remember that a solemn rite of this nature, is not a cause, but a sign, of a state of perfection. It is not bestowed on any save on those who are entering some state of life; though that state need not necessarily be one of perfection. Those who are joined in matrimony embrace a state, in which neither husband nor wife will hereafter belong to themselves (1 Cor. vii.). For, matrimony is a perpetual bond uniting one to the other. Hence, the Church, to signify this state of perpetuity (though it be not a state of perfection), pronounces a solemn nuptial blessing over man and wife. In the same way, when a state is changed in social life, a certain form is used; thus, when a slave receives his freedom a deed of manumission is drawn up. Hoc autem non frivole dicitur, sed auctoritate Dionysii confirmatur, qui dicit, 6 cap. caelestis ierarchiae quod: divini duces nostri, scilicet apostoli, nominationibus sanctis ipsos dignati sunt, scilicet qui sunt in statu perfectorum: alii quidem famulos, alii vero monachos ipsos nominantes ex Dei puro servitio et famulatu, et indivisibili et singulari vita uniente ipsos ad deiformem unitatem, et amabilem Deo perfectionem. Propter quod et perfectivam ipsis donans gratiam sancta legislatio, et quadam ipsos dignata est sanctificativa invocatione. Ubi expresse habetur, quod quia monachi perfectionis statum assumunt, ideo eis solemnis benedictio secundum traditionem apostolorum datur. We are not speaking at random. For, all that we say, is confirmed by the authority of Dionysius, who says (VI. cap. Eccles. hieiarch.) that, “our divine masters (to wit the Apostles), have vouchsafed to distinguish men by certain holy appellations,” namely, those who are in the state of the perfect; “some are servants, while others are called monks by reason of their pure service and ministry to God, and their single and undivided life which unites them, by holy ties, to godlike unity and perfection most pleasing to God. On this account, the holy law has given them perfect grace, and has deemed them worthy of invocation.” We are, also, expressly told, that, as monks embrace a state of perfection, they are blessed by a solemn rite, handed down by Apostolic tradition. Quod ergo primo proponitur, quod in consecratione tam episcopi quam sacerdotis verba communia proferuntur, sicut consecrentur et sanctificentur manus istae etc., non facit ad propositum: non enim nunc agimus de sacerdote in quantum est sacerdos, sic enim in statu ponitur per solemnem consecrationem: non quidem in statu perfectionis activo vel passivo, sed in statu illuminativo, secundum Dionysium; sed in quantum curam accipit: tunc enim ei nulla solemnis benedictio exhibetur, unde tunc nullum statum suscipit, sed fit ei quaedam officii commissio. Episcopus autem ad ipsam curam pastoralem consecratur propter perpetuam obligationem qua se ad pastoralem curam obligat, sicut ex supra dictis apparet. Ad 1. The argument, that both in the consecration of a bishop and in the ordination of a priest, the same words are used, viz., “may these hands be sanctified and consecrated,” is irrelevant to our point. For, we are not now speaking of a priest in his priestly character. For, by his solemn consecration, he is placed not in a state of perfection, be it active or passive, but (as Dionysius tells us), in an illuminative state. We are speaking of a priest, in so far as he receives a certain charge or commission. And, when this charge is laid upon him, it is not accompanied by any special blessing; for he does not, by it, embrace a state, but merely accepts an office. A bishop, on the other hand, is solemnly consecrated to the pastoral office, by reason of the perpetual obligation, whereby be binds himself to it. Quod vero secundo proponitur, dicendum, quod unctio capitis quae regibus exhibebatur, signum erat status habentis principalem curam regni: alii autem qui sunt officiales in regno, tanquam non habentes perfectam regiminis rationem, numquam ungebantur. Ita etiam et in regno Ecclesiae episcopus ungitur tanquam principaliter habens curam regiminis; archidiaconi vero et presbyteri curati non unguntur in susceptione curae, quia non suscipiunt principaliter curam, sed quandam subministrationem sub episcopali regimine, sicut balivi vel praepositi sub rege. Nec propter hoc sequitur quod rex habeat statum perfectionis; quia cura eius se extendit ad temporalia, non ad spiritualia, sicut cura episcopalis. Caritas autem per se respicit spirituale bonum: unde et cura spiritualis ad perfectionem pertinet, non autem cura temporalis, licet ex perfecta caritate posset exerceri. Ad 2. With regard to the second objection (viz., that regarding the anointing of kings), we answer that this unction was a sign, that be who received it, was entering a state involving the chief government of the kingdom. The other officers of the kingdom were not anointed, because they had no plenitude of power. In like manner in the Kingdom of the Church, a bishop receives unction on his head, to signify that he is the principal ruler of his diocese , while archdeacons and parish priests, who only hold a commission from the bishop, and who act as his lieutenants, are not anointed. But the fact of his receiving unction, is no proof that a king enters a state of perfection ; since his charge extends only to temporal matters. It is not like that of bishops, which extends to such as are spiritual. Charity, wherein perfection consists, regards the spiritual welfare of others. Hence, solicitude about the spiritual, not about the temporal, wants of our neighbour, is essential to perfection; although perfect charity may, likewise, occupy itself about the material needs of others. Quod etiam tertio proponitur, longe est a proposito: non enim nunc agimus de perfectione meriti quod potest esse interdum perfectius non solum in curato presbytero quam in episcopo vel religioso, sed etiam in laico coniugato; sed loquimur de perfectionis statu. Unde in hoc videtur etiam obiciens suam vocem ignorare; nam secundum quod obiicit, nec etiam episcopi essent in maiori statu quam religiosi, cum interdum sint minoris meriti. Ad 3. The third argument is quite irrelevant to the matter of which we are treating. The point with which we are at present dealing, is not that of perfection of merit, which may of course be greater in a parish priest, or even in a married man, than in a bishop or religious. The subject with which we are occupied is the state of perfection. It would seem, by the argument of our adversaries, that they do not understand the meaning of their own words; since, according to their reasoning, even bishops themselves, are not in a higher state of perfection than priests; for it may happen that their lives are less meritorious than are the lives of priests. Quod vero quarto proponitur, quod episcopatus non sit ordo, manifeste continet falsitatem si absolute intelligatur. Expresse enim dicit Dionysius esse tres ordines ecclesiasticae hierarchiae: scilicet episcoporum, presbyterorum, et diaconorum: et 21 dist., cap. cleros habetur, quod ordo episcoporum quadripartitus est. Habet quidem enim ordinem episcopus per comparationem ad corpus Christi mysticum, quod est Ecclesia; super quam principalem accipit curam, et quasi regalem. Sed quantum ad corpus Christi verum, quod in sacramento continetur, non habet ordinem supra presbyterum. Quod autem aliquem ordinem habeat, et non iurisdictionem solam, sicut archidiaconus vel curatus, patet ex hoc quod episcopus potest multa facere quae non potest committere, sicut conferre ordines, consecrare basilicas, et huiusmodi; quae vero iurisdictionis sunt, potest aliis committere. Idem etiam patet ex hoc quod si episcopus depositus restituatur, non iterum consecratur tanquam potestate ordinis remanente, sicut etiam in aliis contingit ordinibus. Ad 4. The fourth objection, i.e., that the episcopate is not an order, contains, if it be taken in its literal meaning, a palpable falsehood. For Dionysius expressly says that there are three orders of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to wit, bishops, priests, and deacons. Again, in the distinct. XXI. cap. Cleros, it is said, that the order of bishops is divided into four parts. A bishop has a certain order with respect to the mystical body of Christ, i.e., the Church in whose government he takes the chief part. But, with regard to the true Body of Christ which is contained in the Blessed Sacrament, he has no superiority over a priest. The proof that a bishop has a certain order, and not merely jurisdiction, like an archdeacon or parish priest, lies in the fact, that a bishop can do many things, such as administering Confirmation and Holy Orders, and consecrating churches, which he cannot commission others to do. The duties which are matters of jurisdiction only, he can transfer to others. Another proof that the episcopate is an order, lies in the fact, that, if a bishop be suspended, and then be ultimately restored to his see, he is not reconsecrated; for he has never lost the power of his order. This too is the case with men who are in other orders. Quod vero quinto proponitur, quod solemniter instituitur archidiaconus vel plebanus, quia investitur per anulum vel aliquid huiusmodi, omnino ridiculosum est. Ista enim est solemnitas magis similis civilibus solemnitatibus (secundum quas aliqui investiuntur de feudo per baculum vel per anulum) quam solemnitatibus Ecclesiae, quae in quadam consecratione vel benedictione consistunt. Ad 5. The fifth argument, viz., that an archdeacon or parish priest, is solemnly appointed, because he is invested with a ring, or some other symbol of the sort, is absolutely ridiculous. This investiture resembles certain civil ceremonies, whereby men when invested with a fief are presented with a ring or staff, rather than the rites of the Church, which consist in a solemn blessing or consecration.
Solutio rationum quae inducebantur ad probandum, quod non derogat perfectioni status presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi in hoc quod curam dimittere potest
An Answer to the Arguments Which Are Brought Forward, to Prove
That the Power of An Archdeacon Or Parish Priest to Resign His Duties is No Hindrance to His Being in A State of Perfection (ch. 22)
Nunc tertio ostendendum est quomodo sit frivolum quod obicitur contra id quod dictum est, quod presbyter vel archidiaconus possunt dimittere curam, non autem episcopus episcopatum, vel religiosus religionem. Circa quod primo considerandum est, quod quicumque a perfectiori statu recedit ad statum qui non est perfectionis, censetur apostata, secundum illud apostoli I Tim. V, 11, de viduis cum luxuriatae fuerint in Christo, nubere volunt: habentes damnationem, quia primam fidem irritam fecerunt: ubi dicit Glossa, quod in hoc damnatur propositi fraus, et quod omnes huiusmodi similes sunt uxori Lot, quae retro aspexit; et hoc est apostatare. Unde si archidiaconi vel plebani in statu perfectionis essent, dimittentes archidiaconatum vel parochiae curam, damnabiliter apostatae essent. WE must next point out, that they argue with great inconsistency, who say that archdeacons and parish priests, in spite of their being able to resign their office, are in a state of perfection, equal to that of the episcopate or of the religious life. With regard to this point, it must be remembered, that, whoever leaves a state of perfection for one less perfect, is considered an apostate. Hence St. Paul writes concerning widows, “For when they have grown wanton in Christ they will marry; having damnation, because they have made void their first faith” (1 Tim. v. 11). On these words, the Gloss remarks, “Violation of a vow is damnable. Fidelity to a broken vow is, likewise, damnable. And they are in a state of damnation who make void their first promise of continence, and who, like the wife of Lot, look back; for this is apostasy.” Hence, if archdeacons or parish Priests were in a state of perfection, they would, by renouncing the archidiaconates or parishes, put themselves in a state of damnation by becoming apostates. Quod ergo primo proponitur, quod archidiaconi et plebani possunt transire ad religionem, non propter hoc quod status religionis sit perfectior, sed quia est securior, patet expresse falsum esse. Dicitur enim XIX qu. 1: clericis qui monachorum propositum appetunt, quia meliorem vitam sequi cupiunt, liberos eis ab episcopo in monasteriis oportet largiri ingressus. Ex quo habetur quod ideo licet eis transire, quia melius est, et non solum quia securius. Et praeterea archidiaconi et habentes curam parochiae, non solum possunt, cura archidiaconatus vel parochiae dimissa, religionem intrare, sed etiam in saeculo remanere; sicut patet de illis qui dimittunt parochias et accipiunt praebendam in Ecclesia cathedrali. Possunt etiam coniuges accipere, si non fuerint in sacris ordinibus constituti. Ex quibus omnibus patet quod statum perfectionis non habent. Ad 1. Those who argue against us, maintain, first, that archdeacons and parish priests can embrace the religious life, not because the religious state is more perfect than that in which they have been living, but because it is safer. This, however, is eminently untrue. It is distinctly stated, XIX. Quest. I., that, “such of the clergy as desire to become religious, in order that, thus, they may be able to lead a better life, shall be permitted by their bishops to enter monasteries.” Hence, it is clear, that their desire of embracing the religious state, must be on account of its greater perfection, not by reason of the security which it offers. Archdeacons and parish priests may not only resign their archidiaconates or parishes in order to go into monasteries, but they are free to resign them and stay in the world. This is done by those who become prebendaries of a cathedral. Likewise, if they be not in Holy Orders, they are free to marry. We thus have an incontestable proof that they are not in a state of perfection. Quod vero secundo proponitur, quod religiosus non propter hoc est perfectioris status quod non potest religionem dimittere, quia nec etiam uxoratus potest uxorem dimittere, qui tamen non est in statu perfectionis: patet ex praedictis omnino frivolum esse. Uterque enim status, scilicet religionis et matrimonii, aliquid simile habet, scilicet perpetuam obligationem; et ideo uterque status est quasi alicuius servitutis. Sed obligatio matrimonii non est ad opus perfectionis, sed ad reddendum carnale debitum: et ideo est quidem status, sed non perfectionis. Status autem religionis habet obligationem ad opera perfectionis, quae sunt paupertas, continentia et obedientia; et ideo est status perfectionis. Ad 2. The second argument brought against us is, that if the inability of a religious man to leave his order be a proof that he is in a state of perfection, a married man must also be in a perfect state, because he may not forsake his wife. The absurdity of this reasoning is made clear by what we have already said. The religious life and the wedded life have this one circumstance in common, that they both entail a perpetual obligation. But while obligations of matrimony are not undertaken with a view to the accomplishment of works of perfection but to render a carnal debt, the ties of the religious life bind men solely to works of perfection, i.e., to poverty, chastity, and obedience. Hence, the religious state is one of perfection. Quod vero tertio proponitur, quod propter humilitatem et infirmitatem virium potest aliquis a perfectiori statu discedere ad minorem, sicut David dimissis armis Saulis, accepit fundam et lapidem: secundum aliquid verum est, et secundum aliquid falsum. Potest enim aliquis propter infirmitatem ab altiori religione ad minorem transire, non tamen sine dispensatione. A religione vero ad statum saecularem etiam presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi, nullo modo dispensat Ecclesia. Ex quo manifeste apparet quod multo plus excedit status religionis cuiuscumque statum archidiaconi vel plebani (si tamen status dicendus est) quam status altissimae religionis statum mitissimae. Ad 3. The third argument is partly true and partly false. It embodies the proposition, that, as David laid aside his armour for a sling and stones, so, likewise, it is permissible for men to abandon a more perfect state for one more lowly. A religious may, by reason of his weakness, and with a dispensation, quit his order for one less severe. But the Church never allows a religious to leave the religious life for that of a secular priest, be it as archdeacon, or as parish priest. Hence, we see that there is far more difference between the excellence of the religious state and the state of the archidiaconate or of parish priests (If theirs is to be called a state), than there is between the superiority of the more severe religious orders, and that of the less rigorous ones. Quod vero quarto proponitur, quod si immutabilitas esset de ratione status, nunquam liceret de statu ad statum transire, omnino frivolum est. Licet enim proficere ad statum maiorem, non tamen ad statum minorem, sicut habetur Extra., de regularibus, licet. In maiori enim intelligitur esse etiam id quod est minus, sed non e converso: et qui obligat se ad aliquid minus dandum, non reputatur reus si dederit maius. Ad 4. The fourth objection, to wit, that if immutability be essential to the perfection of a state, it cannot be permissible to pass from one state to another, is absolutely frivolous. It is lawful to pass from a lower to a higher state, but not vice versa (Extra de regularibus). For, a more perfect state embraces all that is contained in that which is less perfect; but the less perfect state does not contain what is included in a state of greater perfection. Therefore, a man who has bound himself to that which is less, cannot be blamed for embracing that which is greater. Quod vero quinto proponitur, quod praelatus potest curatum sibi subditum de religione ad Ecclesiam suam revocare, est omnino falsum et sacris canonibus contrarium. Dicitur enim Extra. de renuntiatione, cap. admonet: universis personis tui episcopatus sub districtione prohibeas ne Ecclesias tuae dioecesis ad ordinationem tuam pertinentes absque tuo assensu intrare audeant, aut detinere aut dimittere te inconsulto. Quod si quis contra prohibitionem tuam venire praesumpserit, in eum canonicam exerceas ultionem. Et de Privileg. cum et plantare, in Ecclesiis, dicitur, quod religiosi in Ecclesiis suis, quae ad eos pleno iure non pertinent, instituendos presbyteros episcopis repraesentent, ut eis de plebis cura respondeant; institutos etiam inconsultis episcopis non audeant removere. Ex quibus non plus habetur nisi quod presbyteri curati non possunt dimittere Ecclesias episcopo inconsulto; et si dimiserint, puniri possunt. Sed hoc generale imprudenter applicat ad hoc speciale, ut non possint sine licentia episcopi dimissa cura religionem intrare. Dicitur enim expresse 19, quaest. I, cap. duae, quod etiam contradicente episcopo possunt clerici saeculares Ecclesiis suis dimissis religionem intrare. Quod vero habetur 7, quaest. I, episcopus de loco etc., manifeste dicitur de transitu ad aliam Ecclesiam, non autem de transitu ad religionem. Ad 5. The fifth assertion, viz. that a bishop can recall one of his clergy from the religious life to resume the charge of his parish, is untrue, and is contrary to the sacred canons. The following words occur in Extra de renuntiatione, cap. Admonet, “You are strictly to forbid the priests belonging to your see, to enter, to hold, or to leave, without your permission, the churches of your diocese, coming under your jurisdiction. Should any priest dare to come to one of your churches without your license, he will incur canonical penalties.” In like manner it is laid down (et de privileg. Cum et plantare) that “Religious who are in churches which do not absolutely belong to them, must present to the bishops, for ordination, the priests who shall be responsible for the care of such churches. Further, they must render to such priests an account of the temporal concerns of these churches. Nor must they presume, without consulting the bishop, to remove these priests from their charge.” These words are only tantamount to saying, that parish priests, who, without consulting their bishop, resign their cures, render themselves liable to canonical penalties. But it is illogical to apply this general rule to a particular case, and to say, that priests cannot leave their parishes to enter religion. For in XIX. Quest. I. cap. Duae, it is expressly stated that, “even against the desire of their bishop, secular priests may quit their churches and enter monasteries.” Hence the words which occur in VII. Quest. I. Episcopus de loco, etc., manifestly apply to the passing of the clergy from one church to another, not from the secular to the religious life. Quod vero sexto obiicitur, quod monachi etiam possunt transire de religione ad Ecclesiam saecularem cum cura, non est simile: quia non transeunt statu religionis dimisso. Dicitur enim 16, quaest. I, de monachis: qui diu morantes in monasteriis, si postea ad clericatus ordines pervenerint, statuimus non debere eos a priori proposito discedere. Sed archidiaconus vel curatus dimissa cura potest religionem intrare tanquam transiens de statu imperfectiori ad perfectionem spiritu Dei ductus, ut habetur 19, quaest. I, duae. Ad 6. The sixth objection does not touch the point in question. It is urged, that religious pass from the religious life to a secular church, to which the cure of souls is attached. This is true. But they do not, in undertaking charge of a church, abandon the religious state. For it is established by XVI. Quest. I. De monachis, that “they, who, having lived a long while in religion, are admitted to Holy Orders, do not, on, that account, relinquish their former state.” But an archdeacon or parish priest can resign his office, and embrace the religious life; since, he is thereby passing from a less to a more perfect state under the guidance of the Divine Spirit (XIX. Quest. I. Duae). Quod vero septimo proponitur, quod aliquis qui fuit in caritate, potest recedere a caritate, ergo non sequitur quod qui recedit a statu perfectionis, non fuerit in statu perfectionis: tam frivolum est, ut responsione non indigeat. A caritate enim nullus discedit nisi peccando, et similiter a statu perfectionis aliquis peccando recedit: quia sicut ad caritatis dilectionem aliquis obligatur ex lege communi, ita ad statum perfectionis aliquis obligatur ex voto speciali. Ad 7. The seventh argument is too foolish to need an answer. It is urged, that because a man who was in charity can fall from charity, therefore, it does not follow that he who falls from a state of perfection, was not in a state of perfection. No one falls from charity except, by sin; and by sin, likewise, a man falls from a state of perfection. For as men are bound by a common law to the love of charity, they are also bound to a state of perfection by particular vows. Quod vero octavo proponitur, quod episcopi non possunt transire ad religionem sine licentia Papae, hoc est ex constitutione Ecclesiae, patet esse falsum; immo est ex ipsa obligatione qua se episcopi obligant ad perpetuam curam plebis habendam: unde apostolus dicit I Cor. IX 16: necessitas mihi incumbit: vae mihi est, si non evangelizavero. Et causam necessitatis subdit, dicens: cum liber essem ex omnibus, omnium me servum feci, scilicet per perpetuam obligationem. Unde et in decretali, non inducitur quasi statutum, sed quasi ratione probatum. Ad 8. The eighth proposition, viz., that by ecclesiastical constitution no bishop can become a religious without the permission of the Pope, from the practice of the Church is evidently untrue. The obstacle is, rather, on account of the perpetual obligation whereby bishops bind themselves to the care of their flocks. Hence St. Paul says (1 Cor. ix. 16), “Necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel.” He adds the cause of this necessity, when he says, “For whereas I was free unto all, I made myself the servant of all.” Hence this prohibition is not laid down in the Decretals as a statute, but as a fact, approved by reason. Quod vero nono proponitur, nullam efficaciam habet. Certum est enim quod de iure communi non debet aliquis eligi ad episcopatum, nec debet suscipere archidiaconatus vel parochiae curam, nisi sit in sacris ordinibus constitutus secundum Ecclesiae statuta. Sed in his Papa dispensare potest, et aliquando dispensat; et tunc habentes curam archidiaconatus vel parochiae, vel etiam in episcopos sic electi, possunt deserta cura contrahere matrimonium, ita quod non dirimitur iam contractum: quod de religiosis dici non potest. Ad 9. The ninth objection is worthless. It is certain, as a general rule, that no one who has not received Holy Orders according to the ecclesiastical. statute, is eligible to a bishopric, an archidiaconate, or to the care of a parish. But the Pope has, in this matter, power of granting dispensation, a power which at times he exercises. In such a case those in charge of an archidiaconate or parish, or even of an episcopal see, can resign their office, and marry. By so doing they are not breaking any contract. A religious, however, who marries, breaks his vow, or contract, of celibacy.
Quae opera ad religiosos pertinere possunt
Concerning the Works That A Religious May Lawfully Undertake
Restat autem dicendum quae opera pertineant ad eos qui in religionis sunt statu. Sed quia de his alibi plene tractavimus, sufficit hic propter calumniatores pauca quaedam inserere. IT remains, now, for us to consider which are the works befitting those living in the religious state. We have already fully treated of this matter elsewhere. We will, therefore merely add a few words, in the hope of putting the calumniators of religious to silence. Inducunt enim verbum Hieronymi, quod habetur in decretis dist. 65 cap. olim: antequam Diaboli instinctu studia in religione fierent: ubi miror, si hoc introducant, quasi religiosi studere non debeant, cum studium, et praecipue sacrae Scripturae, ad eos maxime pertineat qui vitam contemplativam elegerunt; praesertim cum Augustinus dicat 19 de Civit. Dei, quod a studio cognoscendae veritatis nemo prohibetur, quod ad laudabile pertinet otium. Si enim hoc intenderent per haec verba Hieronymi probare, convincerentur per id quod sequitur in eodem cap. et diceretur in populis: ego sum Pauli, ego sum Apollo. Unde manifestum est hunc esse intellectum verbi praemissi. Antequam Diaboli instinctu studia, id est dissensiones, in religione, scilicet Christiana, fierent. 1. The following words of St. Jerome which are found in the decrees (distinct. LXV. Olim) are quoted by the enemies of the religious life. “Before study was, by the suggestion of Satan, introduced into the religious life,” etc. —I wonder if they who quote these words are of opinion that religious ought not to study? For study, especially of Holy Scripture, peculiarly befits men consecrated to a life of contemplation. St. Augustine thought study a fit occupation for religious. He writes, (XIX. De Civitate Dei), “None ought to be hindered from knowledge of the truth, a knowledge which beseems meritorious leisure.” If they who quote the saying of St. Jerome, intend to prove that study is reprehensible in religious, the words that follow in the same chapter ought to convince them of their error. “The people will say among themselves: I am of Paul, I am of Apollo.” Whence it is clear what is meant by the words cited, “Before, by the suggestion of the devil, there was study,” i.e. dissensions in the Christian religion. Item inducunt, quod potestas ligandi et solvendi quantum ad executionem vel executionis rationem sacerdotibus religiosis non tribuitur. Miror ad quid tendat. Si enim sic intelligunt, quod monachi non habent ex hoc ipso quod ordinantur in sacerdotes, executionem clavium: verum est quidem; sed hoc idem de saecularibus dici potest: non enim ex hoc ipso quod saecularis ordinatur in sacerdotem, suscipit executionem clavium, sed ex hoc quod aliquam suscipit curam. Si vero intendunt, quod ex hoc ipso quod est religiosus, non possit habere executionem clavium; manifeste falsum est, et contra id quod dicitur 16, quaest. I: sunt nonnulli nullo dogmate fulti, audacissimo quidem zelo magis amaritudinis quam dilectionis inflammati, asserentes, monachos, quia mundo mortui sunt, et Deo vivunt, sacerdotalis officii potentia indignos; neque poenitentiam neque Christianitatem largiri, neque absolvere posse per sacerdotalis officii divinitus sibi iniunctam potestatem. Sed omnino labuntur. Neque enim beatus Benedictus huius rei aliquo modo extitit interdictor. In quo etiam notandum est, illud solum religiosis esse illicitum quod est eis secundum statuta suae regulae interdictum. 2. It is also maintained, that the power of binding and loosing, or rather the right to exercise this power, does not belong to religious who are priests. —I wonder what those who speak thus, mean by their words. If they mean, that because monks are ordained priests, they cannot ipso facto exercise the power of the keys, they are perfectly right. This applies, likewise, to secular priests. For a secular priest does not receive faculties to exercise the power of the keys because he is ordained priest. He has these faculties given him on account of the cure of souls, wherewith he is entrusted. Therefore, if it be argued, that monks, as monks, may not exercise the power of the keys, it is a plain falsehood. This is evident from the following words (XVI. Quest. L.): “Certain men, supported by no authority whatsoever, and inflamed rather, by presumptuous and bitter zeal than by charity, assert that monks, being dead to the world, and living only to God, are unworthy to exercise the functions of the priesthood. They hold that monks cannot instruct men in penance, or in the truths of Christianity, and that they are unable, by the power divinely committed to them in their priestly office, to absolve sinners. But this is completely erroneous. Blessed Benedict, the gentle guide of monks, has never prohibited them from performing this office. And, it is observed, that those things only, are unlawful to religious, which are forbidden them by their rule.” Item, inducunt quod dicitur XVI quaest. I: monachus non doctoris, sed plangentis habet officium. —Quod si ideo inducunt ut probent quod non convenit monacho, ex hoc quod est monachus, quod sit doctor, verum est; alioquin omnis monachus doctor esset. Si vero intelligant quod monachus habeat aliquid repugnans doctoris officio, manifeste falsum est: quinimmo convenientissimum est religiosis docere, praecipue sacram Scripturam: unde super illud Ioan. IV, 28: reliquit ergo mulier hydriam etc., dicit Glosa Augustini: hinc discant evangelizaturi prius deponere curam et onus saeculi: unde et dominus illis universalis doctrinae commisit officium qui eum fuerant omnibus relictis secuti, dicens Matth. ult., discipulis suis: euntes docete omnes gentes. 3. Those who would fain limit the sphere of activity open to religious, also quote the following words: “The office of a monk is not that of a doctor, but of a mourner”(XVI. Quest. I.). If, by these words, they intend to prove that because a man is a monk, he need not, necessarily, be a teacher, the proposition is perfectly true. Otherwise, every monk must needs be a teacher. But, if they mean that the fact that a man is a monk, is in some way incompatible with his being, likewise, a teacher, their opinion is clearly erroneous. On the contrary, the office of teaching, especially of teaching Holy Scripture, belongs, pre-eminently, to religious. On the words of St. John’s Gospel, “The woman therefore left her water pot,” etc., the Gloss says, quoting St. Augustine: “From these words let those intending to preach the Gospel learn to put away worldly anxieties and cares. our Lord entrusted to those who had left all things and followed Him, the office of universal teaching, saying to His disciples, ‘Go, therefore, teach all nations’” (Matt. xxviii.). Et similis responsio est ad omnia similia, sicut illud: alia est causa clerici, alia monachi. Clericus, scilicet habens curam, dicit, ego pasco; monachus, ego pascor. Et iterum: monachus sedeat solitarius, et taceat. Per haec enim et similia, declaratur quid monacho conveniat ex hoc quod est monachus; non autem per hoc ei interdicitur alia maiora assumere, si ei fuerint commissa; sicut clericus non potest excommunicare ex hoc quod est clericus; potest tamen, si hoc ei ab episcopo committatur. 4. The same answer may be made to all other objections of the same sort: as, for instance, to the argument, that the position of the cleric and the monk differ, for the cleric having charge of souls, says “I feed my sheep,” but the monk says “I am fed.” The same reply must, also, be made to those who say, “Let the monk sit solitary and hold his peace.” —These words, and others resembling them, certainly point out the conduct beseeming a monk as a monk; but they do not forbid him to undertake superior offices, if such be entrusted to him. A secular priest cannot, by reason of his being a priest, pronounce excommunication; but he has, nevertheless, power to do so, if he be commissioned by his bishop to excommunicate. Item quod inducunt non amplius quam duos esse ordines a domino institutos; scilicet duodecim apostolorum, quorum formam tenent episcopi, et septuagintaduorum discipulorum, quorum formam tenent curati presbyteri: si ad hoc inducitur quod religiosi non habent ordinariam curam, si non fuerint vel episcopi vel curati, nullus potest negare. Si autem hoc intendant, quod religiosi non possunt praedicare vel confessiones audire ex superiorum praelatorum commissione, patet hoc esse falsum; quia quanto quisque est excellentior, tanto in huiusmodi est potentior, ut habetur 16, quaest. I: sunt nonnulli. Unde si saeculares sacerdotes non curati possunt huiusmodi facere ex commissione praelatorum, multo magis hoc possunt religiosi, si eis committatur. 5. Again, it is urged that only two orders were established by our Lord: one being that of the twelve Apostles, represented by bishops; the other that of the seventy-two disciples, represented by priests exercising the pastoral office. —If, from these premises, it be argued that monks, unless they be bishops or pastors, have not, as a matter, of course, the care of souls, the conclusion is perfectly true. But, if it be maintained that religious have not power to preach, or to hear confessions, even with the sanction of their bishop, the conclusion is clearly false. For the higher the dignity of any man, the greater is his power (XVI. Quest. I. Sunt nonnulli). Hence, if secular priests, not engaged in pastoral work, can, with the permission of a bishop, discharge these functions, religious are certainly better entitled to do so, if they have the same commission. Haec respondenda occurrunt his qui perfectioni religionis derogare nituntur, a contumeliis abstinendo: quia, sicut scriptum est Prov. X, 18: qui profert contumeliam, insipiens est: et XX, 3: omnes stulti miscentur contumeliis. Si quidam vero contra haec rescribere voluerint, mihi acceptissimum erit. Nullo enim modo melius quam contradicentibus resistendo, aperitur veritas et falsitas confutatur, secundum illud Salomonis: ferrum ferro acuitur, et homo exacuit faciem amici sui. It has occurred to me to say these things in answer to those who strive to detract from the perfection of religious life. Nevertheless, I abstain from reproaches. For, “he who utters reproach is foolish” (Prov. x. 18), and “all fools are meddling with reproaches” (Prov. xx. 3). If anyone desire to send me a reply, his words will be very welcome to me. For the surest way to elucidate truth and to confound error is by confuting the arguments brought against the truth. Solomon says, “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of a friend” (Prov. xxvii. 17).